Press release

At least ten peasants reported killed in a day as police operations plague Negros Oriental

Karapatan vehemently condemns the series of killings by the Philippine National Police in different parts of Negros today, March 30, 2019. According to initial reports, separate incidents of killings of at least ten peasants simultaneously occurred in Canlaon City and Sta. Catalina in Negros Oriental. In Canlaon City, eight residents were reportedly killed by elements of the Philippine National Police. In Sta. Catalina town, at least two peasant leaders were killed in similar operations.

Karapatan challenges gov’t anew: Do not block UN and ICC efforts to investigate PH

“Amid the false and malicious accusations hurled against organizations like Karapatan, we have been openly addressing these issues as we ask for dialogues with the European Union and other governments to directly talk to us. We are confident that these red-tagging schemes, taken to the international arena by a government who wishes to discredit us, will be sufficiently refuted by years of our human rights advocacy for marginalized communities. We echo the same challenge to the Duterte government and its rabid gang of militarists: If indeed human rights organizations are merely spouting lies to defame the government, then do not block efforts by the International Criminal Court (ICC) and United Nations Independent Experts to investigate these human rights violations that we have reported and exposed,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay.

Dismiss trumped-up charges against the Rosales couple - Karapatan

Today, March 27, 2019, political prisoners and former public sector organizers Oliver and Rowena Rosales, will again face the trumped-up charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives filed against them in the Regional Trial Court Branch 19 in Malolos, Bulacan.

Free Renante Gamara! Stop political persecution of peace consultants!

Karapatan strongly condemns the illegal arrest of another peace consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) on the evening March 20, 2019. Peace consultant Renante Gamara and his companion, Arturo Balagat, a former priest, were reportedly arrested by combined elements of the Special Action Force (SAF) and the Philippine Army. They were brought to Camp General Pantaleon Garcia in Imus, Cavite at around 10:30PM yesterday, and are now both in NCRPO Bicutan. Both were charged with trumped-up charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives. 

Relatives of human rights victims urge end to attacks against human rights defenders

Women human rights defenders Nanette Castillo and Jimmylisa Badayos expressed support for human rights defenders of Karapatan and other rights groups, and called for an end to the attacks against human rights organizations. Castillo lost her son to Duterte’s drug war campaign and has since worked alongside Rise Up for Life and Rights, an organization which supports victims and families of the government’s brutal anti-narcotics drive. Jimmylisa Badayos, on the other hand, is the daughter of woman human rights defender Elisa Badayos. Elisa Badayos was the regional coordinator of Karapatan in the Visayas when she was killed in November 2017 by suspected members of a landlord’s private army, which doubles as a paramilitary group. Both Castillo and Badayos have worked with Karapatan on several campaigns. 

Political prisoners: Let us not wait for another victim, stop the attacks vs human rights defenders

Political prisoners in Camp Bagong Diwa, including three organizers of the Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE), expressed their support for Karapatan and other human rights and people’s organizations who remain critical against the anti-people policies and campaigns of the Duterte government. The political detainees have weighed in  on the issue of red-tagging, in light of Brig. General Antonio Parlade’s false accusations against Karapatan, IBON, the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, and other organizations. 
 
They urged the Filipino public to be wary against attacks on human rights defenders. “Ang atake sa Karapatan ay dapat na ipangamba at kondenahin ng sambayanan. Mali na ipagkibit-balikat na lamang ito at hintayin na may maging kasunod na biktima (The attack against Karapatan is alarming, and it should be condemned. It is wrong to shrug off this issue and wait for the next victim),” they expressed in a statement sent to Karapatan.

Karapatan condemns recent killings of three human rights defenders in one week

“We strongly condemn the killing of yet another minor, a 15-year-old student at a community school in Mindanao, the killing of a former Bayan Muna coordinator in Borongan City, and the killing of another farmer in Bulacan days later. It must be emphasized that these killings are not isolated, but a systematic attack against indigenous and peasant communities who continue to raise legitimate demands for education, self-determination and genuine land reform. Students, their communities, and the schools which they have founded and built are being attacked. Farmers and their organizations, as well as their supporters are being attacked. Human rights defenders and activists are being targeted. The Filipino people who remain firm in the defense of their rights are in extreme danger under this brutal and murderous regime,” said Karapatan Deputy Secretary General Roneo Clamor. 

Karapatan to AFP’s Parlade: Your defense of a murderous gov’t betrays your ignorance of human rights principles

Let us school Parlade about a very basic concept of human rights. The primary duty-bearer in the defense, protection, and promotion of human rights is the government and all its agencies, which includes the military. Human rights organizations such as Karapatan have their mandate centered on State-perpetrated human rights violations particularly because of this basic principle. The government has trillions of dollars at its disposal, funds that are being used to commit atrocities instead of being channeled to social services and mechanisms to promote and advance human rights. Remember the Commission on Human Rights? It was created after the Marcos’ martial law regime, precisely because of the recognition that the government has the propensity to train its guns against civilians and civil society. We are emphasizing this for Parlade and his crew’s enlightenment.

 

Karapatan: Persecution vs rights advocates already worsening, set to intensify after PH leaves ICC

Lawyer Jude Sabio, legal counsel of self-confessed member of the Davao Death Squad Edgar Matobato, recently expressed his fear of persecution against him and other human rights defenders, particularly those who have filed complaints at the International Criminal Court (ICC). The country’s withdrawal of its ratification of the Rome Statute takes effect on March 17, 2019. 

Military’s accusations against rights groups a blatant attack vs people’s right to uphold, defend human rights

Brigadier General Antonio Parlade Jr., deputy chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), has consistently red-tagged Karapatan in several interviews and statements. Parlade is among the representatives of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF) which made rounds in diplomatic missions in Europe. Among Parlade and the NTF’s modus operandi is to red-tag and discredit organizations, including Karapatan and the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, who have worked for decades in their commitment to uphold, protect, and defend human rights.

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