Press Statement | December 31,2017
On the recent statement of UN experts on rights violations in Mindanao
Karapatan welcomes the joint statement of UN Special Rapporteurs on the rights of indigenous peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz and on internally displaced persons Cecilia Jimenez-Damary expressing concern on human rights violations against indigenous communities in Mindanao, in the context of increasing militarization and martial law in Mindanao.
Such actions of UN independent experts help bring to the public’s attention the worsening human rights situation in the Philippines, amid vile and deceptive efforts of the Philippine government to deny the existence of extrajudicial killings and rights violations in the country.
It is infuriating that instead of taking note of and acting on the reported violations, the Duterte government resorts to ad hominem attacks to deflect accountability, in addition to its adamant refusal to be subjected to independent investigations.
We are one with the UN experts in expressing concern on the further deterioration of the human rights situation in Mindanao, especially with the extension of martial law this 2018 and the continuing implementation of the government’s counter-insurgency program.
Since the declaration of martial law on May 23, 2017 to November 2017 and with the ongoing counter-insurgency war, Karapatan recorded at least 29 victims of extrajudicial killings in the Mindanao – 15 were in the Southern Mindanao region. Many of the victims were members of local peasant and indigenous organizations targeted for their local campaigns for genuine agrarian reform and against militarization.
Karapatan also documented 15 cases of torture, 23 victims of frustrated extrajudicial killings, 58 victims of illegal arrest and detention, and 335,686 victims of indiscriminate gunfire and aerial bombings. We also attest to the forced evacuation of 401,730 individuals; 16,612 were documented outside of the Marawi siege, mostly in the regions of Caraga, Southern Mindanao, and SOCKSARGENDS.
We call on the international community to continue and intensify support for the Filipino people’s campaigns against the Duterte regime’s fascist attacks, with the expected increase of human rights violations due to martial law, counter-insurgency program, and the drug war.
Reference: Cristina Palabay, Secretary General, +63 917-3162831
Roneo Clamor, Deputy Secretary General, +63 999 772 1233
*KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties. It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign.