December 2, 2017
QUEZON CITY – Karapatan submitted a letter of allegation concerning twenty-five (25) cases of extrajudicial killings perpetrated by State security forces in line with the Duterte government’s counter-insurgency program to United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial/Summary or Arbitrary Executions Ms. Agnes Callamard and UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders Michel Forst today, December 2, 2017.
“From one counter-insurgency program to another, cases of extrajudicial 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,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay in her letters of allegation to Callamard and Forst, adding that the current heads of the military, including AFP Chief Eduardo Año, are the same militarist brutes responsible for many rights abuses during past regimes.
On April 10 2017, Karapatan earlier submitted 47 cases of extrajudicial killings under the Duterte government’s counter-insurgency program. Then Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said it was “not the policy of the Duterte administration” to violate human rights, adding that to attribute the killings to the government “is a serious allegation” and runs contrary to Duterte’s stand of settling disputes in a peaceful manner.
“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. Now that the masquerade is over, what we are left is a clearer view of State fascism,” said Palabay, citing Proclamation 380 issued by Duterte which sought to terminate the peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front, and his recent pronouncement and direct orders to crackdown on progressive groups.
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,” the rights group added.
Karapatan earlier assailed Duterte for threatening to “slap” UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard, repeating his hostility towards any plans of Callamard to officially visit the country to investigate the reported cases of extrajudicial killings in the country. Palabay commented that “this President acts like a spoiled child. The issue is that there is a growing number of State-perpetrated violations in the country, and thus he cannot begrudge Callamard for attempting to perform her mandate to investigate said violations. His feelings or tantrums are inconsequential to us because we are struggling for justice.”
“We reiterate our challenge to the Duterte regime to introduce appropriate measures to stop these attacks and carry out impartial investigations on the cases submitted, to bring the perpetrators to justice. We will exhaust all means and all available mechanisms to hold the government to account for its fascist policies that have been the basis for these continued, intensifying attacks,” Palabay ended.