Press release

Karapatan scores AFP, Duterte gov’t for Masbate EJKs, calls for support for June 12 “Stop the Killings” rally


“It was a bloodbath,” thus said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay, as they recently received reports on the extrajudicial killing of four farmers and two children on April 15 and 20, 2017 in Masbate province in line with military operations under Oplan Kapayapaan of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

On April 15, Masbate farmers Jerry Cuyos, 20, Josel Rosales, 30, and Rodolfo Tagalog Jr., 26, were killed in separate incidents by soldiers from the 2nd Infantry Battalion- Philippine Army, after their encounter with the New People’s Army in Brgy. San Carlos, Milagros town.

AFP bombings, operations force civilian residents in Davao City, Maguindanao to flee

At least eighty-six (86) families and 5,000 residents in Brgy. Dominga, Calinan district, Davao City and Brgy. Kitango and Datu Saudi Ampatuan in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao province respectively were forced to evacuate to due aerial bombings and military operations in the said communities last week. 

Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay attributed the said violations against civilians to “the continuing nuisance efforts of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Department of National Defense to derail the peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines through unabated and blatant violations on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) and counter-insurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan.”

Since May 6, 2017, combat operations by the 3rd Infantry Battalion-Philippine Army in Brgy. Dominga, Calinan district, Davao City have resulted to initially reported cases of extrajudicial killing, torture of a farmer, and threats and harassment of residents. 

Karapatan to Duterte: Remove US troops from PH now, scrap EDCA, VFA

In a protest action at the US embassy today, Karapatan called on President Rodrigo Duterte to stop the joint Balikatan exercises between the US and Filipino military and remove all US troops in the Philippines.

"We call on Pres. Rodrigo Duterte to walk the talk and decisively terminate one-sided military agreements with the United States government, such as the Visiting Forces Agreement and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). If this administration is serious in asserting Philippine sovereignty against the US, it should start by booting out US troops and doing away with treaties and deals that trample on the nation’s sovereignty,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said. 

Karapatan slams recent attacks against human rights defenders and kin

Karapatan slams recent attacks against human rights defenders and kin, calls for independent UN investigation on rights abuses vs HRDs


A former human rights worker of Karapatan and her brother-in-law were illegally arrested, the son of a peasant leader was abducted, and human rights workers investigating rights abuses in Lopez, Quezon were surrounded by soldiers – all these were the most recent attacks against human rights defenders documented by Karapatan last week, from May 3 to 11, 2017.

Karapatan condemns these recent attacks against human rights defenders, as the climate of impunity worsens in the Philippines. While the Duterte administration has been busy promoting butcher generals to Cabinet posts, furthering the militarization of the civilian bureaucracy, human rights defenders and their families are experiencing graver forms of human rights violations,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay.

National ID system, amid militarization of gov’t bureaucracy, will lead to wholesale rights violations – Karapatan

Amid the growing number of military generals holding top posts in the government bureaucracy, the proposed bill on the national ID system, which was recently approved by the House Committee on Population, is bound to lead to wholesale violation of people’s rights to freedom of movement and privacy, right against surveillance, and right to unhampered and non-discriminatory provision of social services.  

Such proposed measures will legitimize the already existing violations of the rights of the people. Many activists and political dissenters were subjected to surveillance by the state. Worse, their names were listed in the so-called “order of battle” by the Armed Forces of the Philippine (AFP) and other similar lists as part of the counter-insurgency program of the government. With the continuing spate of illegal arrests and detention of activists, we believe that this policy and practice continues to this day.

PH Grade in HR Review: Failure

The Philippine government received a failing grade in the recently-concluded UN Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights in the Philippines held in Geneva, Switzerland. 
“Despite attempts by the Philippine delegation to justify the Duterte administration’s war on drugs and to present a positive picture of its achievements on the political, economic, social and cultural rights of the people, most of the attending states still raised serious concerns on a host of human rights issues that remain unaddressed,” said Atty. Ephraim Cortez, co-head of the Philippine UPR Watch delegation to the Geneva event. 

Impunity prevails as butcher-generals appointed in key gov’t positions - Karapatan

“The most recent appointments of butcher-generals in the Duterte Cabinet furthers the militarization of the civilian bureaucracy and, in addition to pro-US officials and warmongers Delfin Lorenzana and Hermogenes Esperon, will inevitably result to more militarist and fascist policies that disregard the rights and welfare of peasant and indigenous communities,” Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said, on the recent appointments of Armed Forces of the Philippines chiefs of staff Roy Cimatu and Eduardo Año, as new heads of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and of Interior and Local Government (DILG).



Karapatan calls out Bello, GRP peace panel's indifference to Lapanday farmers' longstanding problems

The Lorenzo clan, among the wealthiest landlords in the country who controls around 15,000 acres of land across the Philippines, is refusing to distribute 145 hectares of land in Madaum Village, Tagum City. The said land has been awarded by the government to farm workers in 2015, its distribution to farmer-beneficiaries backed by orders from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).

“The Lorenzos, along with State actors colluding to deny land distribution to farmer-beneficiaries, are rights violators. They have not only denied the farmers what is due them, but have killed and endangered the lives of the farmers," said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay.



Karapatan on PH gov’t rights report to the UN: Outright lies, non-existent efforts to stop rights abuses

“Non-existent efforts to stop rights abuses and outright lies by the Philippine government in its report for the third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review at the United Nations Human Rights Council gloss emphasize the reality that human and people’s rights violations continue with impunity,” said Cristina Palabay, Karapatan Secretary General, on the PH government report expected to be presented today, May 8, 2017, in Geneva, Switzerland. 

Karapatan urges UNSR Agnes Callamard to probe extrajudicial killings, in line w/ counter-insurgency program and war vs drugs

UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary Killings or Arbitrary Executions, Ms. Agnes Callamard, recently made an unofficial visit to the country and spoke in a forum about perspectives on drug policies at the University of the Philippines on May 5, 2017.

“We agree with Ms. Callamard that the current policy on the war on drugs is lacking in addressing the socio-economic causes of the illegal drug trade. Policy alternatives should be explored to formulate programs which prioritizes people’s rights, framed within the structural causes of poverty. The ongoing peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) is a platform to formulate comprehensive social, economic and political reforms, including those in relation to this problem,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay.

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