CHRP condemns murder of Randy Echanis

The Campaign for Human rights joins with other human rights organisations in the Philippines and around the world in condemning the brutal murder of Randall Echanis aged 71.

In the early morning of 10 August 2020 five men were seen leaving the home of Mr Randall Echanis, in Novaliches, Quezon City, Philippines. Inside the bodies of Mr Echanis and an unnamed neighbour were found, with stab and gunshot wounds.

There is deep concern that the murder occurred while the government is engaged in a counter-insurgency strategy aimed at destroying efforts being made to end the five decades long armed conflict in the Philippines. Instead the government is stepping up its repression of civil society organisations which criticize the government. Community activists and human rights defenders are increasingly the target of extra judicial killings.

Mr Echanis was a Peace Consultant for the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, a member of the 2016-17 Reciprocal Working Committee on Social and Economic Reforms in the formal peace talks sponsored by the Royal Norwegian Government. He was also the Deputy Secretary-General of the Peasant Movement of the Philippines (KMP) and Chairperson of the Anakpawis Party-List, a political party for peasants, fisherfolk and workers.

It is estimated there have been over 30,000 extrajudicial killings in the Philippines since 2016 and there is widespread recognition that many vigilante killings are committed by policemen out of uniform. According to the human rights organisation Karapatan, the main police response to the killing 0f Mr Echanis so far has been to confiscate the body from the bereaved family, and to arrest a paralegal who was trying to keep track of what was happening to the corpse.

Human rights organisations in the Philippines have called for an independent investigation into the killing to be conducted by the Philippine Commission for Human Rights.

On the same day, Ms Erlinda Echanis, wife of the slain peace consultant, reported that police officers forcibly took the body of her husband which is now being guarded by state authorities. “I have positively identified his lifeless body which bore torture marks, multiple stab and gunshot wounds,” says Ms Echanis.

ICHRP urged the UN High Commissioner’s office and the United Nations Security Council to lead international condemnation of the murder of Mr Echanis, and to urge the Philippines government to bring the perpetrators to justice. In the same letter, it also appeals to the government to abandon its war on all political opposition, and instead to release all political prisoners and resume the stalled peace talks.

“We call on all member states of the UN Human Rights Council to be seized of the seriousness of the human rights situation in the Philippines and to adopt all the recommendations in your June 30 report on the human rights situation in the Philippines,” says ICHRP.

Lastly, Mr Murphy addresses the international community, calling on it “to unequivocally condemn the state killing of Mr Echanis.” #