Karapatan brings cases of political killings in PH to UN
MANILA, Philippines – Rights group Karapatan submitted to the United Nations (UN) 47 cases of alleged political killings under the Duterte administration.
“The victims of killings are peasants, indigenous peoples, and workers. They faced harassment and villification by the military because of their advocacy and actions to defend people’s rights," Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay wrote to UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial/summary or arbitrary executions Agnes Callamard on Monday, April 10.
The killings are allegedly related to the Oplan Kapayaan, the government's counter-insurgency program.
“These killings are all in the context of the counter-insurgency programs implemented from one regime to another supposedly to end the armed rebellion of revolutionary movements in the Philippines," Palabay said.
Karapatan is asking the UN expert to investigate the political killings and to take appropriate actions to give victims justice.
“Under Duterte, from July 2016 to March 31, 2017, a total of 47 cases of political killings have been documented by Karapatan,” Palabay said.
Universal Periodic Review on PH
The submissions were done a month before the third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review on the Philippines at the UN Human Rights Council (HRC)opens on May 8.
The review will cover the last 4 years of the Aquino administration and the first months of the Duterte administration.
The HRCl will assess the progress of the Philippine government based on previous recommendations and will hold it accountable for commitments made. UN member states may also issue specific, time-bound recommendations.
Karapatan hopes that Callamard would be able to convince the Duterte administration to junk its counterinsurgency programs that perpetrate extra-judicial killings.
Up next: War on drugs cases
Palabay also said that Karapatan, together with faith-based network Rise UP, is also planning to submit to the UN cases of victims in the Duterte administration's war on drugs.
Duterte’s war on drugs has racked up a body count of more than 7,000 people. This includes those killed in legitimate police operations, as well as vigilante-style killings. (IN NUMBERS: The Philippines' 'war on drugs')
In 2016, then UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned drug-related killings, saying that it is a breach of fundamental human rights. Different UN offices also expressed their concerns and criticism against the bloody drug war.
The UN-linked International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) in March condemned the killings, saying that they are "fundamentally contrary to the provisions and objectives of international drug conventions.”
Exasperated by the illegal drugs menace in the country, President Rodrigo Duterte has waged an all-out campaign against it since he assumed office in July. – With a report from Mover Carlo Diaz/Rappler.com