March, 2018

Karapatan slams arrest of urban poor activist in Duterte’s fake terror list

Karapatan condemns the arrest of Ruby Lacadman yesterday, March 29, 2018 at her residence in Brgy. Cacutud, Mabalacat City, Pampanga. Lacadman, a member of Kadamay, an alliance of urban poor communities, was apprehended by elements of the police and military by virture of a warrant of arrest for murder for “Ruby Palabrica y Quitason” issued on October 12, 2017. She was brought to the Mabalacat police station. As of this writing, Lacadman is set to be transferred to Cadiz, City, Negros Occidental where she will be reportedly presented to the court on Monday. Lacadman is among the activists presumably included in the Justice Department’s proscription petition which contained a list of more than 600 names. 

Ruby Lacadman 

*Photo of Ruby Lacadman by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan - Gitnang Luson 

On Malacañang’s allegations that human rights groups are in cahoots with drug lords

We’d never know what they’re having in Malacañang, that they never seem to run out of fantastic tales and labels.

They call human rights activists with so many names - NPA rebels, rowdy anti-development strikers, terrorists, destabilizers and now minions of drug lords - all meant to justify the extrajudicial killings, torture and illegal arrest of human rights activists and political dissenters. 

Karapatan to Duterte: Continue the GRP-NDFP peace talks, respect previously signed agreements

Karapatan welcomes the resolution of at least 60 legislators at the House of Representatives calling for the resumption of the peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). The continuation of the said talks should pave the way for discussions and agreements on socio-economic and political reforms that will benefit the Filipino people, especially the poor majority of peasants and workers in the country. 

Rights groups in Hong Kong, Belgium stage protests vs Duterte’s fake terror list

In a show of solidarity with Filipino activists against the Duterte government’s attacks and political persecution of human rights defenders, human rights and people’s organizations in Hong Kong and Belgium staged symbolic actions to condemn Duterte’s fake terror list. “These acts of solidarity remind us that Filipinos and even foreigners in different parts of the world will stand together during these repressive and challenging times. It reminds us that the cause of people’s rights and protection for those who courageously advocate for it is of global importance,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay.


(Photo: Various groups and individuals gather in Brussels, Belgium to protest the PH government's fake "terror list" and call for an end to the criminalization of activists and rights defenders)



(Photo: Human rights groups gather at the PH General Consulate in Hong Kong to protest the PH government's fake "terror list" , calls for an end to the criminalization of activists and rights defenders) 

Duterte regime uses its all-purpose paramilitary pawns in fake terror list – Karapatan

In the proscription petition filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on February 21, 2018, names of at least eight (8) known paramilitary members have been included. Among those in the list are Aldy Salusad, Dumanggol Salusad, Reyboy Salusad, Benjamin Salusad, Julieto Tapanan, Ronal Cabantao, Abing Gawilan, and Joas Licawan. Many are members of the New Indigenous People’s Army for Reform (NIPAR) and the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU).

Karapatan slams Tokhang-style killing in Bicol

Karapatan strongly condemned the tokhang-style killing of Alfredo Merilos and companion Liz Ocampo by combined elements of the 9th Infantry Battalion-Philippine Army (IBPA) and the Philippine National Police- Camarines Sur on March 15, 2018 in a subdivision in Cararayan, Naga City, Camarines Sur. 

JASS-SEA Stands with Filipino Women HRDs Included in the Duterte Gov't' Terrorist List

For immediate Release: 22 March 2018

For reference, contact: Osang Langara

JASS Southeast Asia Stands with Filipino Women Human Rights Defenders Included in the Duterte Government’s Terrorist List

JASS Southeast Asia, a feminist organization dedicated to strengthening and mobilizing the voice, visibility, and collective power of women and a regional network of JASS (Just Associates), raised concern to the safety of women human rights leaders in the Philippines whose names are included in the (Department of Justice) DOJ’s proposed terrorist list. We express our solidarity with members of the international community, their families, and loved ones in urging DOJ to drop the allegations.

SCRIPS Stands by Indigenous Human Rights Defenders in the Philippines

Society for Rights of Indigenous People of Sarawak stands by indigenous human rights defenders in the Philippines

The Society for Rights of Indigenous People of Sarawak (SCRIPS) expresses its human concerns about  the Department of Justice (DOJ) accusation against indigenous human rights defenders in the Philippines by filing trumped-up charges against alleged terrorists.

Those Indigenous human rights defenders that  we know  are  Beverly  Longid - the Indigenous  Peoples Movement  for Self-Determination and Liberation ( PMSDL) Global Coordinator and CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE) co-chair,  Joan Carling - former Asia Indigenous People Pact (AIPP) Secretary General, and  many others listed by DOJ as "terrorist and outlawed organizations and/or group of persons" under the National Security Act of 2007.

We believe that the charges against these indigenous activists are fabricated, false and unsubstantiated. This accusation is done with "mala fide" motive to stop their advocacy and continuous effort to promote and protect the rights of the indigenous peoples. Being a Christian country who should practice good governance based on principle of democracy and  justice  for  the  common  good  of  all, this  act  of  harassment  and Intimidation should be considered morally unacceptable.

EMRIP: Statement in Support of Indigenous Human Rights Defenders in the Philippines

Statement in support of indigenous human rights defenders in the Philippines

21 March 2018

The United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is joining the concern expressed by UN human rights experts1 and the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues2 on the recent terrorism accusations levelled against Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. These unsubstantiated allegations brought by the Philippine Government authorities constitute an unacceptable attack on her mandate, its independence, and more broadly on her work as a human rights defender. The Expert Mechanism finds it unacceptable that, as she undertakes a report on the criminalisation of indigenous human rights defenders, she has herself become a victim of this phenomenon.

The Expert Mechanism would also like to express its support to Joan Carling, former member of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and Jose Molintas, former member of the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, who are also the targets of these unsubstantiated accusations.

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.

Letter of Concern of Action Solidarite Tiers Monde (Action for Third World Solidarity)

Luxembourg, 20th March 2018

Object: Humans Rights violations in the Philippines

H.E. Rodrigo Duterte
President of the Republic Malacaiiang Palace,
JP Laurel St.,San Miguel
Manila Philippines

Dear Mr. President:

Action Solidarite Tiers Monde (Action for Third World Solidarity), a Luxembourg NGO with several partner organisations in the Philippines,wishes to express its deep concern with regard to recent developments in the country in the field of human rights. We are particularly disturbed about the inclusion of the names of some 600 individuals,many of them human rights defenders,in a petition filed by the Department of Justice on February 212018 to declare the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People's Army (NPA) terrorist organisations under Republic Act 9372 (Human Security Act of 2007). Naming these individuals as supposed leaders or members of the CPP­ NPA gravely endangers the lives and safety of those individuals as well as that of their families and fellow activists.

Support Rights Defenders in the Philippines

Karapatan hits PH immigration blacklisting of Canadian human rights activist

Karapatan decries the decision of the Philippine Bureau of Immigration (BI) placing Canadian citizen and human rights activist Emile Kinley-Gauthier’s name on the blacklist of the Bureau of Immigration.

Kinley-Gauthier was a participant in the International Conference on Human Rights in the Philippines on 18-21 July 2013. The conference was organized by the International Coalition on Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP), Karapatan and the Ecumenical Voice for Human Rights and Peace (EcuVoice).

UN bodies, int’l rights organizations decry Duterte government’s fake terrorist list

Aside from the statements of the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein and two UN special rapporteurs on the inclusion of the names of UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz and of human rights defenders in the Department of Justice petition proscribing the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army as terrorist organizations, statements of support and solidarity poured in from several other UN bodies and international human rights organizations decrying the Duterte administration’s fake terrorist list.


Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment said “These charges must be dropped immediately, and support provided for the legitimate activities of these individuals who have UN mandates, and the civil society organizations with which they work…It is deeply concerning that authorities have routinely responded to the expressions of environmental and human rights defenders by criminalizing and delegitimizing their voices.” His full statement can be accessed through:

ILPS Senegal: Statement in Support of Human Rights Defenders in the Philippines


The President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, has taken a new and very dangerous step in his drive to crackdown on human rights defenders and on all those fighting for their rights. The publication of a list of 600 persons, considered as “terrorists”, constitutes a serious escalation of the Duterte regime’s war on the Filipino people. This move will result in more extrajudicial killings of human rights defenders, indigenous leaders, and of all those who dare raise their voice against State terror in the Philippines.

In light of this dangerous development, ILP-Senegal Chapter condemns in the strongest terms President Duterte’s criminal decision. We demand the immediate end to all policies and measures which would lead to more extrajudicial killings of peasant and indigenous leaders, human rights defenders and other citizens fighting for freedom, democracy and social justice.

Statement of LAHURNIP, NIWF, NEFIN and YFIN Against Defamation and Harassment of IP HR Defenders

Joint Statement of Lawyers' Association for Human Rights of Nepalese Indigenous Peoples (LAHURNIP),  National Indigenous Women's Federation (NIWF)Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN), and Youth Federation of Indigenous Nationalitites (YFIN)

Against Defamation and Harassment to UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Indigenous Human Rights Defenders in the Philippines 

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.

AMMS & CTPF: Statement of Concern on the Increasing Harassment & Intimidation of Indigenous Peoples' Leaders & Rights Defenders


Adivasi Mahila Maha Sangh( AMMS) and Chhattisgarh Tribal People’s Forum( CTPF), Chhattisgarh, India strongly condemn the recent action taken by the Government of Philippines to criminalize the leaders of the Philippines Indigenous Peoples Movement as well as indigenous leaders working in the international arena.

EANP Letter to Congress on Duterte Terrorist List

We of the Ecumenical Advocacy Network on the Philippines (EANP) are deeply troubled by the “terrorist list” of 600 individuals recently issued by President Duterte. It includes human rights defenders, Catholic priests, drug war dissenters, and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous People, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, herself an advocate for the rights of Philippine indig- enous people. This action by the Duterte Administration puts at risk the lives of those on the list, they have been tagged by the Philippine Government as “communist rebels”. In support of this action, the Philippine Department of Justice submitted the list to a Manila court for processing of arrest warrants and filing of cases. By doing so, dissent and defense of human rights have been criminalized and are now life-threatening commitments.

Duterte's Choice: The Tyrant Emerged

2017 Karapatan Year-End Report on the Human Rights Situation in the Philippines 


"The year 2017 unfolded Duterte’s true nature, a greedy and cruel war-mongering president who uses his power to perpetrate a killing rampage against the people – his war on drugs, his own brand of war-on-terror, and his military’s all-out-war. His imposition and extension of martial law in Mindanao and his continuing implementation of government’s counterinsurgency program, presently Oplan Kapayapaan, have exposed Duterte as a fascist instrument beholden to the whims of his imperialist master, the United States. Duterte has further consolidated his US-loyal security cluster and the neoliberal fanatics in his cabinet, resulting in intensifying attacks against people’s civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. His government has taken the form of a paper tiger – desperately fronting a fierce strongman façade yet ultimately revealing a cowering and subservient running dog to its profit-hungry and fascist masters."

Submission to Victoria Tauli Corpuz, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples | March 16, 2018

Submission to Victoria Tauli Corpuz,
United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights
March 16, 2018

KARAPATAN Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights – Philippines[i] submits this report in response to the call of the Office of the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples for inputs to her thematic report on the issue of criminalisation and attacks faced by indigenous peoples asserting and defending their rights. In this submission, KARAPATAN critically examines the Philippine government’s compliance to international human rights instruments, in relation to indigenous human rights defenders, and presents our views and recommendations on the practice of State actors, under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, of filing criminal charges against these defenders. 

In the nearly two years of his presidency, 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. Early on his first year in office, the President has relied on militarist solutions to the country’s problems. To date, his war on drugs has reportedly caused some 20,000 individual victims of extrajudicial killings[ii], precipitated by Duterte’s own orders and pronouncements[iii]. The government’s counterinsurgency program called Oplan Kapayapaan has resulted in grave human rights violations, including 126 victims of extrajudicial killings of mostly peasants and indigenous people, illegal arrests and detention, nearly half a million victims of bombings and forced evacuation, threats, intimidation and harassment of those critical of the President, including indigenous peoples and their defenders.[iv] 

Latest Duterte Spin to Get Away with Murder: Play the victim and withdraw ICC ratification

“Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s most recent decision to withdraw the State’s ratification of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is indicative of his rabid refusal to be subjected to any and all forms of investigation or scrutiny. The Duterte regime is defensively peddling the narrative that all casualties in the drug war occurred during legitimate police operations. Despite this lie, this murderous regime is aware that there are relatives, witnesses, and individuals who can expose and demolish its half-baked stories. Thus, Duterte is choosing to cheat his way out of a mechanism that can potentially prove his culpability,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay.

On the eve of 20th anniversary of CARHRIHL: Victims of torture, illegal arrests file complaints vs GRP

“Torture victims and the kin of recently arrested peace consultant Rafael Baylosis and Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) organizer Maoj Maga filed a complaint against the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) for violations under the the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL). Tomorrow, March 16, will be the 20th year of CARHRIHL, yet the GRP and its state forces are still committing gross human rights violations, as exemplified by these cases,” said Karapatan deputy secretary general Roneo Clamor, accompanying torture victims Janry Mensis and “Jerry”, and Eleanor de Guzman, daughter of Rafael Baylosis and wife of Maoj Maga.  

Statement of Amnesty International

Index: ASA 35/8068/2018

15 March 2018

Philippines: Onslaught against human rights defenders must end

The Philippine government must immediately halt its latest wave of dangerous attacks on human rights defenders and international institutions, Amnesty International said today. Human rights defenders - among them two UN human rights experts - must be guaranteed protection in the country and be allowed to carry out their work freely.

On 21 February 2018, the Department of Justice filed a petition to the Manila Regional Trial Court against over 650 individuals, seeking to designate them as “terrorists” under  the Human Security Act of 2007 (Republic Act 9372), also known as the anti-terrorism law. Among those listed are human rights defenders including the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, Ms. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, a Philippine national. The Special Rapporteur had recently spoken out against the government, criticizing the displacement of Indigenous Peoples during military operations in the south of the country.