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On the UN Human Rights Committee’s concluding observations on the Philippines

Karapatan welcomes the concluding observations of the United Nations Human Rights Committee on the Philippines, including its significant views on red-tagging, the Anti-Terrorism Act, extrajudicial killings in the government’s war on drugs, among other pressing issues on human rights in the Philippines.

The Committee’s recommendations to put an end to extrajudicial killings of suspected drug offenders and users, and to discontinue any attempts to reintroduce the death penalty, despite the platitudes by the Philippine government, should further bolster efforts for possible independent investigation at the UN Human Rights Council and at the International Criminal Court.

No let-up on the quest for justice

In October 2022, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla led the government delegation during the fifth periodic review of the Philippines by the United Nations Human Rights Committee in Geneva, Switzerland.

The result was just as expected. On November 4, the UN Human Rights Committee released its concluding observations, calling out the Philippine government on its woeful human rights record. No amount of whitewashing and platitudes can convince the world it is doing enough.

Kin of "desaparecidos" echo call for justice, lambasts gov't "apathy"

Families and friends of desaparecidos, or victims of enforced disappearance under the group Desaparecidos (Families of the Disappeared for Justice) decried the "state's apparent disregard for accountability and justice" as they remember the memories of their loved ones on All Souls Day.

"We commemorate the memories and the bravery of our friends and family members who were forcibly taken from us, despite not having any graves to offer candles and flowers, nor any idea about their whereabouts. We also honor and remember the deceased relatives of desaparecidos who tirelessly demanded for justice and sought answers about their loved ones," said Erlinda Cadapan, Desaparecidos national chairperson.

Apayao governor’s recent order encourages commission of extrajudicial killing, other rights violations

Human rights group Karapatan slammed Apayao Provincial Governor Elias Bulut, Jr. for issuing “an official order that may potentially be used to drive and encourage the commission of extrajudicial killings.”

In an executive order dated September 30, 2022 Bulut offered reward money of P100,000 for anyone who “captures, arrests or kills in a legitimate military operation a member of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG).” The governor upped the bounty to P1,000,000 if the person arrested, captured or killed is a “high-ranking CTG personality.”

This is a kill order, said Karapatan secretary-general Cristina Palabay. “It gives the go-signal for anyone to arbitrarily attack and kill political activists who have been repeatedly threatened and red-tagged, and be paid handsomely for it.”

Karapatan condemns arrest of trade union activist in Quezon City

Rights group Karapatan condemned the arrest of trade union activist Benjamin Cordero, the most recent in what they believed to be another round of attacks against trade union activists and workers’s rights defenders.

According to initial reports from Karapatan Metro Manila, Cordero was arrested at past 11:00pm on October 26, 2022 in his home in Quezon City. He was reportedly served with a warrant of arrest dated October 24 based on charges of frustrated homicide issued by Branch 77 of the San Mateo, Rizal Regional Trial Court. He is currently detained at Batasan Police Station 6, Quezon City. Recommended bail is at P72,000.