Rights group files more EJK complaints vs Duterte with UN experts

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MANILA, Philippines — A human rights organization said it has filed more cases before United Nations experts over extrajudicial killings committed in the course of the Duterte government’s counterinsurgency campaign.

Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said they had written letters of allegation to UN special rapporteurs Agnes Callamard (on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions) and Michel Forst (on human rights defenders).

The new complaints concerned 25 killings the rights group blamed on state security forces and are on top of 47 cases Karapatan had filed on April 10.

“From one counterinsurgency program to another, cases of extrjaducial killings against peasants, indigenous peoples, Moro, workers, women and youth continue to be committed with impunity under the murderous Duterte regime,” Palabay wrote in the letters.

“Also, most, if not all, of the perpetrators of human rights violations under the administrations of former Presidents Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and BenignoSimeon “Noynoy” Aquino III have not been brought to justice,” she added, noting that many of the military’s top officers “are the same militarist brutes responsible for many rights abuses during past regimes.”

Looking back to the filing of the first complaint, when former presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said human rights violation were “not the policy of the Duterte administration,” Palabay noted: “Eight months after and look where we are now. Any more claims from Duterte’s mouthpieces regarding his so-called preference for resolving disputes through peaceful means will merely come out as a laughable and preposterous lie.”

Karapatan said it has documented 104 extrajudicial killings under Duterte from July last year to October this year.

These are aside from the thousands of deaths attributed to Duterte’s war on drugs, which has earned him widespread criticism here and abroad.

“We allege that state security forces are primarily responsible for these killings that are all in the context of a government program that makes no distinction between armed and unarmed civilians, thus providing a pretext for the arbitrary tagging of individuals, groups and movements as “enemies of the state,” it said.

Duterte recently ordered the termination of peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and has ordered state forces to go not only after armed insurgents but also groups he claims are “legal fronts” of the rebels.

BELOW IS THE TEXT OF THE LETTERS TO CALLAMARD AND FORST:

Greetings of peace!

On behalf of Karapatan Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights, a non-government organization working for the promotion of human rights in the Philippines, I would like to bring to your attention the spate of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, in line with the intensifying counter-insurgency program of the administration of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

From one counter-insurgency program to another, cases of extrjaudicial killings against peasants, indigenous peoples, Moro, workers, women and youth continue to be committed with impunity under the murderous Duterte regime. Also, most, if not all, of the perpetrators of human rights violations under the administrations of former Presidents Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III have not been brought to justice.

Duterte’s recent pronouncements and direct orders on the crackdown on progressive groups and on attacks against human rights defenders, political dissenters and ordinary folks embolden state forces to further violate people’s rights.

From July 2016 to October 2017, Karapatan documented 104 victims of extrajudicial killings under Duterte’s counter-insurgency program. We allege that state security forces are primarily responsible for these killings that are all in the context of a government program that makes no distinction between armed and unarmed civilians, thus providing a pretext for the arbitrary tagging of individuals, groups and movements as “enemies of the state.”

In this regard, I would like to submit to you this letter of allegation concerning the cases of extrajudicial killings of the following individuals, for your consideration and to investigate, make recommendation/s or take any appropriate action/s:

  • Carolina Arado
  • Ana Marie Aumada
  • Eddie Alyawan
  • Jezreel Arrabis
  • Dalia Arrabis
  • Oscar Asildo Jr.
  • Joseph Baning
  • Obello Bay-ao
  • Jessie Cabeza
  • Lito Casalla
  • Mario Castro
  • Meliton Catampungan
  • Rodolfo Dagahuya Jr.
  • Lomer Gerodias
  • Danion Lasib
  • Ande Latuan
  • Reneboy Magayano
  • Silvestre Maratas
  • Danilo Nadal
  • Federico Plaza
  • Elias Pureza
  • Bernardo Ripdos
  • Alberto Tecson
  • Roger Timboco
  • Luardo Yac

Attached are the case briefs pertaining to these cases for your perusal. All cases were directly documented by Karapatan and consent of the victims’ families in the documentation and advocacy of these cases were duly obtained. These cases are in addition to the previous submissions of Karapatan to your office.

Thank you very much for your kind attention.

Sincerely,

Cristina Palabay (sgd)

Secretary General