August 10, 2020

Hon Michelle Bachelet

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

E-mail: registry@ohchr.org

Condemn state murder of peace consultant Randall Echanis, Philippines

Dear Excellency,

The International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines protests in the very strongest terms at the murder of Mr Randall Echanis this morning. This is a crime of state terror.

At about 1.20am this morning, local time, August 10, 2020, five men were seen leaving the rented home of Mr Randall Echanis, aged 71, in Novaliches, Quezon City, the Philippines. Inside the bodies of Mr Echanis and an unnamed neighbour were found, stabbed to death. Mr Echanis was at home receiving medical attention. Of course, he and his neighbour were unarmed and no threat.

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 advocated for the mass of poor peasant farmers, for he was the Deputy Secretary-General of the National Peasant Movement (KMP) and Chairperson of the Anakpawis Party-List, a political party for peasants and workers.

This murder is almost certainly a calibrated operation of the Duterte counter-insurgency program, Oplan Kapanatagan, designed to destroy any dialogue that may resolve the five-decade long armed conflict in the Philippines, and instead pursue all out political violence against civilians.

We call on the international community to unequivocally condemn the state killing of Mr Echanis. We call for your office and the United Nations Security Council to lead that condemnation, and to urge the Philippines government to bring the perpetrators to justice, 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.

Sincerely,

Peter Murphy, Chairperson, Global Council,

International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines

Cc: Mr Antonio Guterres, United Nations; UN Special Rapporteur on EJK; DFAT Desk; Senator Marise Payne, Minister for Foreign Affairs; Senator Penny Wong; Adam Bandt MHR, Andrew Wilkie MHR; Julia Dean; Ret Gen Carlito G Galvez Jr, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process; Ret Maj Gen Delfin Lorenzana, Secretary, Dept of Defence; Mr Menardo Guevarra, Secretary, Department of Justice; Mr. Jose Luis Martin Gascon, Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights.