Rights groups, victims and kin file at least 200 complaints on HR violations vs Duterte regime

On April 20, 2018, various organizations, victims and their relatives assisted by Karapatan filed at least 200 complaints on human rights violations under the Duterte government at the office of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) Monitoring Committee on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) at Quezon City. 

En route are the many more complaints prepared by Karapatan chapters in Bicol, Cordillera, Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Visayas, Panay, Negros, Caraga, Southern Mindanao, Northern Mindanao, Western Mindanao and Socsksargends.

“The more than 200 complaints constitute violations under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), among the vital agreements penned by both the GRP and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines in the peace negotiations. The CARHRIHL was signed in 1998, but here we are 20 years later, still confronted with the unchanging political and economic environment that allows, and even actively perpetuates, these abuses,” said Karapatan Deputy Secretary General Roneo Clamor. 

Included in the complaints are the illegal arrest and detention of the Mabinay 6 (which includes UP alumna Myles Albasin) in Negros Oriental; the President’s red-tagging of Karapatan in live telecast and interviews, cases of extrajudicial killings (EJKs) in line with the government’s counterinsurgency program such as the killing of Karapatan human rights worker Elisa Badayos and Catholic priest Fr. Marcelito “Tito” Paez, three cases of massacres, including the seven Lumad leaders killed in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato, and the recent enforced disappearance of NDFP consultant Lora Manipis and husband Jeruel Domingo. Individuals included in the Justice Department’s proscription petition, including NDFP peace consultant Randy Malayao, are also set to hand in their complaints against the GRP. Sr. Patricia Fox, Australian missionary arbitrarily detained by the Bureau of Immigration for a day, will also attend the filing to show her support and solidarity.

Karapatan’s Deputy Secretary General asserted that “these violations are part of a concerted effort to repress individuals, organizations and communities vocal against the government’s anti-people policies. The victims of rights abuses have raised legitimate demands, yet were met with repression. Bearing in mind that the Duterte administration rigorously implements its counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan, on top of other fascist policies such as martial law in Mindanao, there is no doubt that these abuses are systematic and deliberate -- done as a desperate attempt to demoralize, discourage, and belittle the collective efforts of groups and communities working to promote and protect their rights.”

The Joint Monitoring Committee has a mandate to monitor the implementation of and achieve the purposes of the CARHRIHL. “It is among the substantial outcome of the peace talks. The heart of the peace talks, the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER), was set to be finalized before the negotiations broke down last year. This reminds us of the positive, concrete gains of the peace talks,” Clamor explained.

“The filing of complaints is part of our assertion to hold the government accountable vis-a-vis all the agreements it has signed on the respect for human rights and international humanitarian law. We will continue to exhaust all means to demand for justice and accountability for the victims of State abuses, and are continuously working towards amplifying calls to end anti-people policies. We reiterate our support for the peace talks as a key platform whereby the roots of the armed conflict can be sufficiently discussed and subsequently resolved. These agreements should serve as a guide post for the socioeconomic and political reforms that will move the country away from foreign control, landlessness, poverty, and repression,” concluded Clamor.