10 December 2017
On this international Human Rights Day, we the UK-based Campaign on Human Rights in the Philippines send our mutual solidarity from the United Kingdom to those in the Philippines suffering, or at risk from, grave human rights abuses.
We express our grave concern at the recent escalation in such abuses. As of November 2017, the human rights organisation Karapatan has documented 113 victims of political killings, 81 victims of torture, 54,573 of threat, harassment, and intimidation, 364,617 of indiscriminate firing and aerial bombing, and 426,170 of forced evacuation. The Duterte regime has also imprisoned 121 new political prisoners now languishing in jails across the country.
According to Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay, there have been a number of recent killings leading up to Human Rights Day: “A peasant leader Apolonio Maranan was killed in Davao City on November 26. A human rights defender and a peasant activist were killed on November 28, followed by the killing of a Catholic priest in Nueva Ecija and a pastor in Mindoro Oriental. Duterte’s bloodthirsty hounds also massacred eight T’boli and Dulangan Manobos in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato on December 3. Most recently, a leader of a fisherfolk organization, Aldrin Sese, was gunned down in Masbate on December 8 and yesterday, the lifeless body of youth cultural worker Bernardo Clarion was found in Davao City, after reports that the house he was in was raided by soldiers.”
We join with those Filipinos, and their international supporters, who are engaged in widespread protests across the Philippines and the world to express their outrage at this perilous situation. The so-called ‘war on drugs’ continues to claim thousands who are victims of state-sponsored extra-judicial killings.
There are worrying echoes of the descent into dictatorship that occurred under President Marcos, with the threat of a nationwide extension of the martial law currently in place in Mindanao. Mining companies are being told to hire paramilitary ‘armed civilian’ units, in imitation of Marcos era CAFGU units, despite well documented cases of previous rights violations.
The Duterte Government needs to desist from sponsoring and supporting these crimes, uphold the rule of law and should be held accountable for their crimes.
On this Human Rights Day, we honour and remember the victims of human rights violations and vow to continue our support for the fight for justice with increased vigour.
Members of the Campaign for Human Rights in the Philippines