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Amid killings, attacks, UN experts urge Philippines to protect rights defenders

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Amid killings, attacks, UN experts urge Philippines to protect rights defenders

The UN experts urged the authorities to carry out prompt, impartial and independent investigations into the growing number of threats and killings of rights defenders to hold perpetrators to account and to fight impunity.

By RONALYN V. OLEA
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – Amid reports of killings and death threats against human rights defenders in the Philippines, two United Nations Special Rapporteurs on human rights defenders and extrajudicial executions called on the Philippine government to adopt urgent measures to protect the life of rights defenders and to ensure they are able to carry out their important work.

The UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders defines human rights defenders as those who seek the promotion and protection of civil and political rights as well as the promotion, protection and realization of economic, social and cultural rights.

In a statement posted at its website, the UN experts said that a number of cases have been reported to them involving death threats and, in the worst of cases, killings of human rights defenders since the killing of Fr. Fausto Tentorio in Mindanao last year.

Tentorio, a Catholic Italian missionary, was killed inside the compound of a local Church, October 17 by suspected state agents. Human rights group Karapatan reported that under the two-year term of President Benigno Aquino III, there have been 95 of victims of extrajudicial killings. Recent cases include the murder of Dutch missionary Willem Geertman and Romualdo Palispis, chair of Justice and Peace Action Group (JPAG). Karapatan also reported the killing of Arnolfo Vaflor, a member of an affiliate of the National Federation of Sugar Workers in Negros Occidental on July 9.

“Many of the cases involve individuals and organizations working to defend the right to a healthy environment,” said Margaret Sekaggya, Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders. “Disputes over land rights and campaigns against mining and dam projects infringing on the rights of local communities tend to be sensitive, and those defending such rights are often met with violence.”.... MORE

SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2012/07/13/amid-killings-attacks-un-experts-urge-philippines-to-protect-rights-defenders/

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