Press Release
19 January 2021

References:
Cristina Palabay, Secretary General, +639173162831
Karapatan Public Information Desk, +639189790580

Int’l rights groups call for justice for Tumandok massacre, arbitrary arrest victims in Capiz, Iloilo

More than a hundred human rights and indigenous peoples’ organizations from the international community condemned the extrajudicial killings of nine indigenous peoples leaders and arbitrary arrest of 17 leaders and members of Tumanduk nga Mangunguma nga Nagapangapin sa Duta kag Kabuhi (TUMANDUK) in the Philippines which took place on December 30, 2020, and supported the call for justice for the victims.

In a collective statement, the groups strongly called for a stop to “deadly operations through coordinated police and military actions on indigenous peoples under Duterte’s regime.”

The groups also called upon the Philippine government to immediately conduct impartial and credible investigations.

“We call on the House of Representatives and Senate to conduct inquiries, especially on the persistent issuance of search warrants, conduct of police and military operations marred by summary executions and evidence-planting, and “systematic” conduct of these deadly operations as experienced in Samar, Negros, Metro Manila, and most recently in Panay Island,” the groups said.

Among the international human rights NGOs who released the statement are Front Line Defenders, Global Witness, the International Service for Human Rights, International Commission of Jurists, Protection International, and the Forest Peoples Programme.

Indigenous peoples’ organizations who signed on the statement are Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact, AIPP, Chiang Mai, International Work Group on Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA), Indigenous World Association, Indigenous Environmental Network, Asia Indigenous Peoples Network on Extractive Industries and Energy (AIPNEE), International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change, International Indigenous women’s forum (FIMI), International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL), Indigenous Peoples Rights International (IPRI), and the ICCA Consortium, among others.

Also supporting the statement are rights groups and indigenous organizations from Thailand, Denmark, the Netherlands, Nepal, Malaysia, Uganda, Switzerland, Bangladesh, Mongolia, Myanmar, US, Vietnam, Cambodia, India, Hawaii, Taiwan, Timor Leste, Papua New Guinea, Norway, Italy, Chad, Benin, Indonesia, South Africa, El Salvador, Kenya, Paraguay, United Kingdom, Cameroon, Russia, France, Peru, Sweden, Argentina, Sri Lanka, Palestine, Guatemala, and the Philippines.

“The voices and actions of the international community are important in providing much-needed solidarity for Tumandok as well as indigenous and peasant communities in the Philippines who are facing worse attacks under the current administration,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay.

Karapatan said that “police and military operations based on questionable warrants and false reports of the National Task for to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) resulting in killings and arbitrary arrests must stop.”

“We continue to call for independent and impartial investigations by international human rights mechanisms as among the steps to hold the perpetrators accountable for these crimes,” Palabay concluded. ###

* Copy of the statement of various groups can be accessed through https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/statement-report/international-human-rights-organizations-condemn-recent-panay-massacre

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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.