MANILA – A global civil society network has joined the local human rights group Karapatan in urging the Aquino administration to end extrajudicial killings.
In astatement, CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation and Karapatan called on the government to carry out fair and independent investigations into all cases of extrajudicial killings and disappearances.
Since President Benigno Aquino III assumed office, Karapatan documented 99 victims of extrajudicial killings and 11 cases of enforced disappearances. Majority of the victims are farmers, indigenous peoples and activists advocating for land rights and environmental protection. The group also reported that at least 385 political prisoners continue to languish in prisons as “a result of exercising the key civil society freedoms – freedom of expression, association and assembly.”
“The rate at which human rights defenders are being killed in the Philippines is shocking,” says Mandeep Tiwana, policy and advocacy Manager at CIVICUS. “If the government is serious about its stated commitment to end rights violations, then it must withdraw the state of impunity that exists for military officials and members of government sponsored militias.”
The group said that even as Aquino has promised to resolve cases of extrajudicial executions and other violations of human rights, “genuine reform to ensure the protection of civil society members continues to be lacking.” They noted that the Aquino administration continues to implement Executive Order 546, which allows the use of paramilitary forces and private militias for its counterinsurgency programOplan Bayanihan..... MORE