Karapatan submits report on criminalization of IP rights defenders to UN Special Rapporteur on IPs

Karapatan today submitted an input on the attacks against indigenous rights defenders, in response to the call of the office of United Nations Special Rapporteur Victoria Tauli Corpuz for her upcoming thematic report to the UN Human Rights Council on criminalization of indigenous peoples’ rights defenders.
 
Ironically, the case of Tauli Corpuz and other IP human rights defenders, whose names were included in the petition of the Department of Justice proscribing Communist Party of the Philippines and New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) as terrorist organizations, was among the cases mentioned by Karapatan in its submission.

“Systematic attacks against activists, political dissenters and human rights defenders have been brought to a whole new level by the resentful and vindictive Duterte government. The DOJ’s fake terror list and the continuing spate of filing of trumped up criminal charges against indigenous rights activists and other defenders are among the stark examples,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay.

The submission states that “Duterte has employed the resources of the State to attack, criminalize and target individuals and entire communities. Amid the alternatives given at the start of his term, Duterte has chosen to make State terrorism his irreversible and grim response to the public clamor for systemic and substantial change.”

Included also in the cases submitted to Tauli Corpuz are the harassment suits filed by the military and police against leaders of indigenous communities actively defending their right to ancestral lands and volunteer Lumad teachers in Sultan Kudarat and Surigao del Sur, as well as trumped up criminal charges against women human rights defenders in Cordillera.

“We recommend that the UN Human Rights Council call on the Philippine government to respect, promote and protect the rights of indigenous human rights defenders, in accordance with the rights enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and Human Rights Council and General Assembly resolutions,” stated Karapatan in its submission.

*Full copy of Karapatan’s submission can be accessed through: