July 8, 2017
Reference: Cristina Palabay, Secretary General, 0917-3162831
Evangeline Hernandez, Hustisya Chairperson, 0950-5415944
Karapatan Public Information Desk, 0918-9790580
Kin of victims of Tokhang and political killings, political prisoners, desaparecidos to Duterte: We need justice, not martial law and other fascist attacks
“We are mothers, daughters, friends, nieces, relatives who have lost our beloved to State repression. What we have is our strength, our solidarity, and our voices combined together to arduously push the call for justice. We refuse to accept that our loved ones have simply become mere statistics, normalized in the everyday frenzy of gunshots, bombings, arrests and violations,” said Hustisya Chairperson Evangeline Hernandez, during the gathering of kin of victims of drug-related and politically motivated extrajudicial killings, political prisoners and desaparecidos at UP Diliman on July 8, 2017.
The gathering, dubbed “Remember. Resist.” and organized by Hustisya, Karapatan and Rise Up, is among the few platforms where kin of victims of rights abuses gather together to amplify calls for justice and lasting peace.
Estimates put the number of drug-related killings to around 12,000, while human rights group Karapatan documented 67 victims of political killings as of June 30, 2017.
“President Duterte has commiserated with families of slain soldiers and paramilitaries. Where are his tears for the indigenous peoples, farmers, and urban poor who were killed and violated by his troops?,” Hernandez said.
They also reiterated the call for the Duterte administration to move forward with peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippine and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). “The GRP-NDFP peacetalks is an important venue to pursue the release of all political prisoners and other human rights obligations of the GRP, as well as pressing and significant reforms in the economic and political spheres,” Hernandez said.
Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said that “just and lasting peace was never achieved by a ceasefire agreement. Socioeconomic reforms that address the roots of our society’s ills is what will pave the way for a sustainable path towards just peace. The government’s militarist approaches, especially in light of the Marawi crisis, will deepen the divide and worsen the marginalization of our Muslim brothers and sisters. The US who went through the same track in fighting its so-called war-on-terror is still fighting several decades later, with no resolution in sight.”
Hernandez also expressed the families’ fears amid martial law and the Supreme Court’s recent decision to affirm its constitutionality. “For us, this is giving an already abusive State security force more power to abuse, protected by layers of impunity,” she said.
“For the repressive policies that have taken our loved ones away from us, this is our resistance. As we remember our beloved, we stand resolved in our determination to continue fighting for justice and lasting peace. We will be here to remind the government that repression has its repercussions, and that it has become an inadvertent catalyst for kin of victims to fight unceasingly to make the State accountable,” ended Hernandez.
PUBLIC INFORMATION DESK
Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
2nd Flr. Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin corner Matatag Sts., Central District
Diliman, Quezon City, PHILIPPINES 1101
Telefax: (+63 2) 4354146
KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties. It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign.