ICHRP-Canada: Letter of Concern Re Crackdown on Human Rights Defenders in PH

March 20, 2018

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada
Office of the Prime Minister

 

Dear Prime Minister,

Re: Crack down on human rights defenders in the Philippines

The International Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) Canada is deeply concerned and strongly condemns the recent attack against human rights defenders, activists, and political dissenters in the Philippines. The names of more than 600 individuals have been in a Justice Department petition to proscribe the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA) terrorist organizations. This list includes high profile indigenous and human rights defenders, and endangers their lives and security, as well as that of their families and fellow activists. The list is baseless, arbitrary, malicious and repressive. In line with Canada’s guidelines on supporting human rights defenders, we urge the Government of Canada to take immediate action.

Among those listed are:

  • Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous People,
  • Beverly Longid, Global Coordinator of the International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL);
  • Joan Carling, Co-convener of the Indigenous Peoples Major Group on the Sustainable Development Goals, former Secretary General of the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) and member of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues;
  • Windel Bolinget, Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA) Chairperson;
  • Jose Molintas, former member of the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP);
  • At least 10 Lumad leaders in Northern and Southern Mindanao, and peasant leaders, union organizers, and human rights defenders.

The use of the Human Security Act of 2007 to suppress legitimate dissent is a dangerous and underhanded move that definitely worsens the climate of impunity in the Philippines. We deplore this and other acts that intimidate, threaten, harass, target and criminalize persons and defenders who have been working for people’s rights and welfare.

We urge the Government of Canada to issue a public statement that:

  • Raises serious concern for the safety and security of the individuals who are listed in the petition, filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ), that labels them as terrorists and outlaws pursuant to the National Security Act of 2007;
  • Further call on the Government of the Philippines to repeal this petition immediately on the basis that it is baseless, arbitrary, and highly repressive;
  • Advise the Canadian mission in the Philippines, specifically the Canadian Ambassador, to take the appropriate, concrete measures specified in the new guidelines Voices at risk: Canada’s guidelines on supporting human rights defenders to support and protect the morethan 600 individuals named in the DOJ petition;
  • Finally, in light of recent developments review the support provided to the Government of the Philippines, including cooperation with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP);

Thank-you in advance for your consideration of this important request.

 

Sincerely,

(Ms.) Bern Jagunos

(on behalf of the ICHRP – Canada)

 

c.c.: Philippine Embassy in Canada; Embassy of Canada in the Philippines; Minister of Foreign Affairs; Minister ofDefence; Opposition Foreign Affairs Critics; Opposition Defence Critics; Deputy Director Philippines Program GAC