Karapatan strongly condemns recent harassment on its secretary general

Press Release | July 21, 2017

On the evening of July 20, 2017, Karapatan secretary general Cristina ‘Tinay’ Palabay received an anonymous call from a male who then proceeded to threaten Palabay, warning her that "times are different because of martial law." He warned Karapatan’s Palabay to stop her work as a human rights defender, threatening her that she is on their ‘list’. The call lasted for some 10-15 minutes. Karapatan, along with different organizations, had earlier staged a protest action in front of Camp Aguinaldo and Camp Crame to demand the immediate lifting of martial law, the withdrawal of counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan, and an end to the drug war campaign.

Screenshot of message 

The number, 09260779448, has been traced to a Facebook post dated July 10, 2017, allegedly belonging to the safety battalion of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

"This is not the first time that Palabay and other human rights workers of Karapatan have been harassed. This is among the petty tactics employed by State security forces to intimidate and threaten human rights workers and discourage them from their work. We strongly condemn such pathetic actions which target activists and human rights defenders," said Karapatan’s deputy secretary general Jigs Clamor.

Palabay is an active voice in the call to continue the peace talks and advance its gains with regard to socioeconomic reforms. She also currently stands as the an independent observer in GRP-NDFP peace negotiations. "I am being harassed for leading protests, for advocating for peace, for demanding justice, and for enjoining the Filipino people to amplify calls to end repressive State policies. This is the work of cowards who hide behind anonymous calls and discretionary intelligence funds. This is the work of macho fascists who brandish their privileged positions, in an attempt to intimidate women human rights defenders. This is the work of guilty people who do not want to be made accountable for their crimes against the people," responded Palabay to the harassment incident.

Clamor added that "these threats from State security forces who now use martial law as another legitimate reason to curtail people’s civil and political rights is proof of what rights abusers do when more power is accorded to them - they abuse it. This is reminiscent of the martial law under Marcos, and human rights defenders in Mindanao are systematically being subjected to such violations, even to the point of being arrested and killed. The military has provided us with a very precise example of their own corrupt, devious and despicable maneuvers."

"We enjoin everyone to stand together and condemn such forms of harassment. Instead of fear, let us show these warmongers that they have furthered our resolve to fight this repressive system. Military officials emboldened by martial law cannot hide behind the veil of the President’s ratings forever. We will make them accountable for all the abuses they have inflicted on the Filipino people. We bring out the slogan commonly shouted in the streets during Marcos’ martial law: makibaka, huwag matakot!," concluded Clamor.  

 

Reference:

Jigs Clamor, Karapatan Deputy Secretary General, 0999-7721233

Cristina Palabay, Karapatan Secretary General, 0917-3162831 

 

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