U.N. experts to PH gov't: Stop red-tagging Corpuz, human rights groups

ENSURE SAFETY. United Nations experts expesses grave concern over continuing attacksg against UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz. File photo by Orlando Sierra/AFP

ENSURE SAFETY. United Nations experts expesses grave concern over continuing attacksg against UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz.

File photo by Orlando Sierra/AFP

MANILA, Philippines – Three United Nations experts on Wednesday, May 1, condemned the continuous attacks and allegations linking one of their own to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). 

The UN special rapporteurs said that the new accusations against UN special rapporteur Victoria Tauli-Corpuz “are clearly in retaliation for her invaluable work defending the human rights of indigenous peoples worldwide, and in the Philippines.”

The UN special rapporteurs are the following:

“We call on the Philippine Government to immediately stop these unacceptable attacks on the human rights work of Corpuz, and to ensure her physical safety,” they said, adding that the accusations are “without grounding in fact or law.”

UN experts added that the threats and harassment hinder the groups from doing their vital work. (READ: Powering through a crisis: Defending human rights under Duterte)

“The criminalizing discourse used by Philippine public officials undermines the value of the vital work of human rights defenders, denigrates them in the eyes of the public and may put them at risk of threats, violence or other forms of harassment,” they said.

Brigadier General Antonio Parlade Jr had earlier claimed that the UN was infiltrated by the CPP through Corpuz, a veteran Filipino human rights worker.

May IP Rapporteur sila doon at actually, iyong rapporteur na iyon, nasa listahan iyan ng… as a member of the Communist Party noong pinaylan [filed] natin ng kaso iyong Communist Party as a terrorist organization,” Parlade said in a press conference on March 13,

(They have an IP rapporteur there and that rapporteur, she’s in the list filed before the court tagging the Communist Party as a terrorist organization.) 

Corpuz was indeed one of 649 people the Department of Justice sought to tag as terrorists in 2018. The Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 19, however, eventually cleared her and 3 others. 

Parlade’s statement was in line with the government’s offensive against progressive groups that they alleged were fronts for the CPP. 

National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr shad written the European Union, asking it to stop funding non-governmental organizations on the government list, claiming that they were being used to recruit for the CPP.

Human rights groups have denounced the government for red-tagging, profiling, and surveillance. – Rappler.com 

Jodesz Gavilan

Jodesz Gavilan is a writer and researcher for Rappler and its investigative arm, Newsbreak. She covers human rights and also hosts the weekly podcast Newsbreak: Beyond the Stories. She joined Rappler in 2014 after obtaining her journalism degree from the University of the Philippines.

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