WOMEN’S FRONT | Urge the PH Government to be accountable for HR violations

By INAABUYOG-GABRIELA
www.nordis.net

In light of the recent and escalated attacks against women human rights defenders in the Philippines, we are inviting everyone to join the global action in time for the International Human Rights Day on December 10.

We are also encouraging everyone to endorse the letter, appended below, urging the Philippine government to stop the attacks against human rights defenders in the Philippines.

You can sign the petition in this link https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdKTxksh5MJ8YUNUL9F9-cDPLjgFvnxRE855s-aPddfIyGY4Q/viewform.

Thank you and we hope that you can support this call to defend women human rights defenders in the Philippines.

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29 November 2018

H.E. Rodrigo Duterte
President of the Republic of the Philippines
Malacañang Palace,
JP Laurel St., San Miguel,
Manila, Philippines 1005

Sub: Civil Society Organizations Urge the Philippines Government to Put People’s Rights and Fundamental Freedoms First

Dear President Duterte,

The undersigned national, regional and international organizations urge Philippines President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and the rest of your administration to act on behalf of and put people’s rights and interest at the center of your governance. This urgent request comes from a deep concern on the deteriorating state of human rights and democracy in the Philippines and the blatant disregard for it by your administration. In the past two years, the international human rights community has witnessed how your all-out war on drugs has not resulted in curbing the “drug problem” in the Philippines. It has instead resulted in the death of over 20,000 people (mostly minors) and has targeted poor communities. It has also been over a year since the imposition of Martial Law in Mindanao that has not protected the lives of civilians but rather legitimized militarization that protects the interests of the local and foreign economic elites.

Since the declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao over 1,000 people have been killed during the Marawi siege alone, 49 documented extrajudicial killings and over 200,000 people displaced from their homes and deprived of livelihood. As if deaths and displacements are not enough you have also assured the Philippine Military that they can rape with impunity.

The current administration’s counterinsurgency program dubbed Oplan Kapayapaan is essentially an internal security plan meant to target government opposition, political dissenters, any and all groups that oppose the government. It is the blueprint that guides the operations of the military and the police legitimizing extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests, judicial harassment, vilification, intimidation and surveillance of political opposition and human rights defenders. It was in this context that you displayed your brand of misogyny by ordering military troops to shoot women combatants of the New People’s Army in their vaginas to render them useless.

Alarmed by the Duterte administration’s increasing disregard for human life and rights amidst a culture of impunity that it continues to fan, we highlight the killings, political detention and ongoing threats and intimidation of and human rights defenders:

  • Mariam Uy Acob and Elisa Badayos, Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRDs), were killed in 2018 and 2017. Yet to date, no investigations have been initiated and their families continue to suffer the loss and injustice while their perpetrators are still at large.
  • Continuing detention of at least 415 political prisoners, 45 of whom are women who have been arrested on trumped up criminal charges. They are now languishing in various jails and detention camps in the country. This includes Gabriela consultant Hedda Calderon, public sector union organizer Rowena Rosales who is detained with her husband Oliver, youth activist Myles Albasin and her five companions, indigenous volunteer teacher Jolita Tolino and development workers Rita Espinoza and Rachel Mariano.
  • The Department of Justice’s “terrorist list” lists 649 names, some are unspecified, including women human rights defenders. W/HRDs who work, consistently and tirelessly in upholding the rights of women continue to be subjected to threats and intimidation, vilification and surveillance by state security forces and their cohorts. This includes Karapatan women human rights defenders Elisa Tita Lubi, Cristina Palabay and Clarizza Singson, human rights lawyer Katherine Panguban, and indigenous WHRD Alma Sinumlag.

As human rights defenders fighting various battles at the national and international levels we stand together in solidarity in demanding that the Duterte Administration:

  • Stop the killings, attacks, judicial harassment and criminalization of the work of human rights defenders, and political dissenters. Human Rights Defenders are not criminals or terrorists and speaking up against the president and calling attention to gross human rights violations in the country and elsewhere are not acts of terrorism to be punished;
    Scrap the Oplan Kapayapaan as it is being used to target civilians and human rights defenders;
  • Immediately conduct fair and independent investigation, prosecute and punish human rights violations by agents of the State and non-state actors, including the extrajudicial killings of human rights defenders;
  • Provide access to justice with full resource to victims and survivors of human rights violations conducted by state and non-state actors in the context of ‘drug war’, counterinsurgency programme and attacks against political dissenters or human right defenders;
  • Adhere to and respect the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and all other major Human Rights instruments that the Philippines is a party and signatory to;
  • Certify as urgent the enactment of House Bills 1617 and 8128, two important pieces of legislation that will recognize and protect human rights defenders in the Philippines and effectively domesticate the UN Declaration for human rights defenders.

Deadline to sign on this letter is Sunday, 9 December 2018, midnight Bangkok time.# nordis.net

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