Summit concludes Duterte’s government commissions human rights violations to silence critics
Human Rights Summit presented its 2018 Human Rights Report at Demiren Hotel this city today. The Summit is a colloquium of various human rights organizations and advocates including the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines – Northern Mindanao.
The Year-End Report was presented by Karapatan Northern Mindanao (Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights – Northern Mindanao) highlighting human rights violations perpetrated by state actors under the Duterte administration in 2018.
Overall, the Summit reported violations against right to life and liberty with 4 victims of extrajudicial killings, 7 cases of frustrated killings, 4 victims of enforced disappearances, 47 victims of trumped-up charges, 43 victims of illegal arrest and detention, and 32 victims of arbitrary arrests, 567 victims of threat, harassment and intimidation and 927 victims of fake or forced surrenders within the year. The Summit also documented violations to the right to security in communities including 4 incidents of enforced evacuations involving 110 families and 496 individuals.
The Summit also expressed alarm on the trend of using trumped-up charges or weaponizing the law to go after red-tagged leaders and members of legitimate organizations. The report stated that the Duterte administration is not only putting the law into his hands to terrorize known critics. The Duterte administration is also bending the law to vilify and crack-down the so-called “left” who are reportedly planning the President’s ouster.
Victims of these human rights violations also shared their testimonies in support of the documentation presented in the forum. Among them is Segundina Damayon who serves as the Secretary General of Kasama-Bukidnon Valencia Chapter and who is a victim of frustrated killing. Her organization is actively campaigning for land rights and just agricultural practices in the province.
Kristine Cabardo, a victim of illegal arrest and trumped-up charge, also shared her experience claiming the detention and charges filed against her and her group is a form of harassment and an attempt to demoralize her from her role as spokesperson of the youth sector.
Both the victims are also known critics of the Duterte administrations anti-people policies such as the TRAIN Law and the Martial Law in Midnanao. They shared that the threat against their life and liberty horrified but did not deter them from continuing their work for their respective organizations.
Aside from the these, Datu Ekel Amas also shared the issues of the indigenous peoples in San Fernando who are currently experiencing threat, harassment and intimidation due to their struggle for land reclamation of their ancestral domain. Private individuals who have claimed parcels of their ancestral domain reportedly fired at the IPs who were conducting Bungkalan (land cultivation).
Datu Reynaldo Ayuma also shared the ordeal of his community of threat, harassment and intimidation against their communities during the conduct of military operations of the AFP forcing their evacuation from Camansi, Lagonglong to the province’s Capitol Grounds in Cagayan de Oro. Until now, the evacuees fear of returning to their homes due to the presence of soldiers who threatened to kill them if they will not surrender as NPAs.
The Summit findings show that the human rights violations stem from the Duterte administration’s on-going counter-insurgency program, Oplan Kapayapaan. The program, the report concluded, targets not only armed rebels, but, also legitimate organizations at the forefront in people’s struggles for land rights and economic welfare and against intrusive developmental projects.
Furthermore, the report also concluded that the martial law in Mindanao has emboldened armed forces of the state to commit these human rights violations because the commander-in-chief, President Duterte himself, advocates the commission of these violations and protects the perpetrators.
Various religious organizations and the academe also expressed their support to the findings of the Summit and joined in the calls of the group. The Summit called for the resumption of peace talks and the stop to the counter-insurgency program, Oplan Kalayaan, to address the root cause of the armed conflict in the country. The Summit also called for the lifting of martial law in Mindanao and for justice and indemnification for the victims of human rights violations. Finally, the Summit called for accountability of President Duterte and all state actors involved in the perpetration of these human rights violations.
Source: Rural Missionaries of the Philippines – Northern Mindanao Region
Date: December 6, 2018