Submitted on Sat, 12/08/2012 - 14:33
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) raised the alarm on the continuing human rights violations in the country under the Aquino government, particularly cases of extrajudicial killings of human rights defenders.
OMCT noted “the attacks on human rights defenders in a climate of pervasive impunity” especially those fighting for their land rights and the protection of the environment. “A climate of pervasive and systematic impunity is at the heart of this alarming situation,” said the OMCT delegation in a statement.
The OMCT conducted a mission in the Philippines on November 11 to 17, 2012, to investigate the situation of rights defenders. Two members of OMCT General Assembly, Ms. Vrinda Grover, a prominent human rights lawyer (India), and Ms. Claudia Samayoa, Coordinator of the Unit for Protection of Human Rights Defenders of Guatemala, led the mission. They met with leaders and network of Karapatan, indigenous peoples, farmers groups, lawyers, faith-based organisations, as well as government officials, foreign embassies and representatives of a transnational mining company in Manila and Mindanao.
Submitted on Fri, 12/07/2012 - 15:21
The ManiLakbayan delegation, composed of more than 70 leaders of peasants and indigenous peoples from Mindano, today launched at the St. Joseph College in Quezon City, a relief drive for fellow Mindanawons affected by typhoon Pablo.
ManiLakbayan (Journey to Manila) is a Mindanao Peoples’ mobilization for the Defense of Land, the Environment, and Human Rights is currently in Metro Manila to bring voices of concern on mining-affected communities and the attacks on, specifically the extrajudicial killing of, indigenous peoples and environment defenders.
Today’s forum, “Pakigdait (Solidarity)” became a venue for the residents of Metro Manila not only to extend help to the victims of typhoon Pablo but also to show their concern on the plight of the peasants and indigenous peoples in Mindanao who have become victims of military operations in the government’s pursuit of its counterinsurgency program, Oplan Bayanihan, and in protecting foreign mining corporations involved in large-scale and destructive mining.
Submitted on Fri, 12/07/2012 - 13:05
Karapatan today held a picket in front of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to underscore the point that Pres. Aquino’s ‘superbody’ is “extraneous and thus, inessential in solving the cases of extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations.”
“The victims and their families need no more frills and fuss. If only the government listens to the voice of the people, they would say: Just get down to work; solve and stop extrajudicial killing,” said Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan.
The members of the Manilakbayan mission, a 74-member delegation from Mindanao, joined the picket to highlight the cases of extrajudicial killings of indigenous peoples and peasants under the Aquino regime who are mostly killed because of their opposition to large-scale mining operations and destructive government projects in their lands.
With the Manilakbayan delegation are the widows of slain IP leaders who pressed the DOJ to “go after the identified perpetrators of extrajudicial killings is what the victims need such as the members of the 27th IB responsible for the massacre of Juvy Capion and two children who are both minors; the arrest of Alde Salusad of the New Indigenous People’s Army Reform (NIPAR) who remains free despite a warrant of arrest for the killing of Jimmy Liguyon, a tribal leader in Bukidnon.”
Submitted on Thu, 12/06/2012 - 19:05
"No one else is to blame but President Noynoy and large scale mining corporations on the lives lost to typhoon Pablo," said Sr. Stella Matutina, secretary general of PANALIPDAN-Mindanao, a network of environmental defenders, in response to National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Committee (NDRRMC) Usec. Benito Ramos' statement that the typhoon Pablo tragedy is due to illegal mining.
PANALIPDAN-Mindanao, together with the KALUMARAN, spearhead the Manilakbayan, the Mindanao people’s journey in Manila to call the government’s attention to the disastrous effects of large-scale destructive mining in Mindanao communities, including extrajudicial killings of environmental advocates and indigenous peoples.
"Stop blaming the people of Mindanao for not leaving their disaster-stricken homes and the small-scale miners for doing such a living," Sr. Matutina said. "Small scale mining has been sustainable since the time of the Lumad forefathers. It is not like when large scale mining came in to our towns, destroy our ancestral lands - that's when disasters start coming upon us," Sr. Matutina said. "This typhoon would not have been this tragic if not for the logging and foreign mining companies ravaging our mineral resources," Sr. Matutina continued.
Submitted on Thu, 12/06/2012 - 18:34
Karapatan scores anew Noynoy Aquino’s recent promotion of military officers with clear record of human rights violations, and in fact, have pending cases before civilian courts for such violations, saying that “Aquino’s act is an outright disregard for human rights.”
Karapatan said that the “promotion of military officers like Año and Baladad is the height of Aquino’s callousness on the plight of rights victims and their relatives. The dark days of martial law are really upon us.”
“We would like to underscore the role of the Commission on Human Rights, headed by Etta Rosales, who like Noynoy Aquino has nothing but sweet talk on the supposed decline of human rights violations under the Aquino government,” said Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan.
Submitted on Wed, 12/05/2012 - 13:00
A group of Mindanao-based indigenous peoples and environment organizations leading a ten-day lakbayan to Metro Manila called on President Aquino to scrap the government’s standing mining policy allowing large-scale mining operations in the light of the latest disasters in Mindanao where super typhoon Pablo claimed more than two hundred lives in the provinces of Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental which have not experienced typhoons in recent years.
Environment group Panalipdan! Mindanao secretary-general Sr. Stella Matutina, OSB said that hundreds of communities in Mindanao have been rendered vulnerable to natural disasters due to the proliferation of large-scale extractive industries being promoted by the Aquino administration through existing government policies and programs such as Executive Order 79 and the Mining Act of 1995.
“Do we need typhoon Pablo to get the attention of the central government and concerned people about our issues like political killings and environmental destructions caused by big extractive industries and other agribusiness ventures?” Matutina said, adding that “we are now right smack in Manila to air out our issues.”
Submitted on Tue, 12/04/2012 - 13:00
“Darker days ahead,” is how Karapatan describes the human rights situation under the Aquino government “that will even surpass the expected damage of typhoon Pablo.”
Karapatan, in its public presentation of the 2012 year-end report on the human rights situation said that “the appointment of known human rights violators such as the likes of Brig. Gen. Eduardo M. Año as the new chief of the Intelligence Service of the AFP and, of Brig. Gen. Aurelio Baladad as deputy chief of staff for operations is part of Oplan Bayanihan’s design to finish, if not neutralize, its identified armed threats and their so-called supporters or mass base by 2013, its phase 1.”
“Putting the likes of Baladad and Año is part of the government’s preparation for its end game, for the nth time, with its perceived State enemies. Also, Aquino puts across the message that a reward awaits those who kill, bomb, strafe, force people to leave their homes, harass and threaten them, arrest, torture then keep them in jail. The people should brace themselves for more serious human rights violations, with this deadline and these kind of military officers who are at the helm of the military institution,” said Karapatan chairperson Marie Hilao-Enriquez.
Submitted on Mon, 12/03/2012 - 13:00
Pahubay, a Banwaon ritual that literally means to ‘soften the heart’ was performed by Banwaon Datuand Bae at Plaza Miranda, Quiapo as they appealed to the people of Metro Manila, especially those from Mindanao, to support their call for justice and to stop extrajudicial killings and forced evacuation of peasants and indigenous peoples in Mindanao, due to continuous military operation and incursion of large-scale destructive mining in their lands.
More than 70 Manilakbayan delegates from Mindanao were greeted in a salubong by members of people’s organizations, multi-sectoral and Church groups led by Karapatan, Ecu-Voice and Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KAMP). The delegation includes the Capion family, whose relatives Juvy Capion and her two children were massacred on October 18 in Tampakan, South Cotabato. They were joined in by widows of five slain leaders of indigenous people (IP) who died fighting for their land rights against incursions of mining corporations, agri-business corporations and megadams in their ancestral domain.
Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said “we warmly welcome our brothers and sisters from Mindanao who intend to bring the voices of the Mindanao peasants and indigenous peoples to Manila, specifically for Pres. Aquino to hear clearly that they have had enough of bombings, of forced evacuation, of killings and mining operations in our land. Aquino should stop the killings and those responsible for these atrocities should be punished. “
Submitted on Sat, 12/01/2012 - 12:59
Bounty and pop stars, instead of releasing political detainees
Karapatan said that, “While the Aquino government plays dead on the call to release political prisoners, it offered bounty for so-called communist leaders and got pop stars to endorse Oplan Bayanihan, the counter-insurgency program that has caused lives of 114 people. The act is both desperate and preposterous.”
Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan said that Aquino’s offer for bounty could mean more arbitrary arrests and detention and, further abuses and rights violations. “It is unacceptable that Aquino and the AFP chose to just sing their way out of their accountability to their crimes against the people and say it’s for peace in the country,” she added.
From July 2010 to September 2012, Karapatan documented almost 447 victims of illegal arrests under the Aquino government, victimizing especially farmers and indigenous peoples they meet in the fields and forests during military operations and presenting them as NPA members or supporters. In the said period, there are 401 political prisoners in the country, with 123 persons arrested and detained under the Aquino government.
Submitted on Thu, 11/29/2012 - 13:46
Women human rights defenders from Tanggol Bayi, Ecumenical Women’s Forum, BAI National Alliance of Indigenous Women, KAMP, International Women’s Alliance and Gabriela today trooped to the Department of Justice in Manila, in time for the global commemoration of the International Women Human Rights Defenders Day.
With their calls expressed in indigenous woven cloth and rituals by indigenous women, they called on Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Pres. Noynoy Aquino to stop the killings of rights defenders and expressed skepticism over the creation of a “superbody” to investigate the killings and other rights violations.
“Women human rights defenders ask: with 15 women and girl-children killed under Aquino, what can the Aquino’s superbody do, if, by all indications, this merely looks and sounds like just another investigative body akin to former Pres. Gloria Arroyo’s parody of task forces and commissions on rights violations?” said Cristina Palabay, spokesperson of Tanggol Bayi and secretary general of Karapatan.