Karapatan decry attacks on 2 women human rights defenders, raise alarm over rising extrajudicial killings

Sixteen killed before end of 1st Quarter 2009
Karapatan decry attacks on 2 women human rights defenders, raise alarm over rising extrajudicial killings

The human rights watchdog Karapatan today decried the shooting of two women human rights defenders in Laguna and sounded the alarm over the rising extrajudicial killings.

Sabina Ariola, 51 and Adelaida Calosa, 48 was shot at around 8:25 AM yesterday, March 23, 2009. Sabina, who was hit in the abdomen died at 11 o’clock in the evening and Adelaida who was hit on the face is undergoing medical treatment.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms, the attacks on human rights defenders Sabina Ariola and Adelaida Calosa,” said Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Secretary General of Karapatan.

Sabina and Adelaida are the Chairperson and member respectively of the MSRK3, an urban poor organization in Sta. Rosa, Laguna advocating for welfare, development and peace.  MSRK3 stands for Mamamayan ng Santa Rosa para sa Kagalingan, Kaunlaran at Kapayapaan.

The Elf truck where Ariola and Calosa were riding was parked at the Metroville Subdivision in Baranggay Pook Sta. Rosa when the lone gunman climbed up and shot them.  The two were about to announce important urban poor concerns through the public address system attached to the truck when the attack happened.

Hilao-Enriquez lashed out at state security forces for targeting civilians, among them human rights defenders.  “Arroyo’s death squads are still at it, they have targeted civilians, including human rights defenders and loved ones of armed guerillas.”

Karapatan warns that extrajudicial killings is becoming more frequent with sixteen killed before the first quarter of the year is over.  “The killings are picking up again at an alarming rate of one victim per week. This is almost the same scenario in 2006, if not worse," Hilao-Enriquez said.

She added that "Arroyo's perverse belief that insurgency can be eliminated by 2010, deadline of the Oplan Bantay Laya II, by eliminating perceived "state enemies" justifies extrajudicial executions.”

“We call on our people and the international community to keep up the pressure on the Arroyo government to put an end to these atrocities,” Hilao-Enriquez said.###