On the Investigation and Initiation of Commission on Inquiry for Human Rights Violations in PH
The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) echoes the urgent demand for a fact-finding mission and commission on inquiry concerning the rampant human rights violations in the Philippines, as demanded by different people’s organizations, and pushed by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).
Since President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration took office in 2016, more than 12,000 deaths from the bloody war on drugs, “Oplan Tokhang”, have been reported, majority of which are from the urban poor. With the on-going Martial Law in the whole island of Mindanao, in the Southern Philippines, heavy militarization through encampments of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and attacks on indigenous and peasant communities resulted to forced evacuations of the Lumad who are also terrorized by almost day-to-day reports of extra-judicial killings, threats, harassments, and illegal arrests. Also, under the backdrop of the current counter-insurgency program “Oplan Kapayapaan,” a crackdown on human rights defenders and peoples’ organizations resulted to indiscriminate arrests and fake surrenders of alleged communist rebels and members of the New People’s Army, as part of the attempts to silence critics and voices of dissent.
Indigenous Peoples (IP) leaders and activists were not spared as several were included in the “terrorist list” of the Department of Justice including IPMSDL Global Coordinator Beverly Longid, UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous Peoples Vicky Tauli-Corpuz, Cordillera Peoples Alliance Chairperson Windel Bolinget, SANDUGO Co-Chairperson Joanna Cariño, former Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact Secretary General Joan Carling, former member of UN EMRIP Jose Molintas, and leader of Tontongan ti Umili Jeanette Ribaya-Cawiding, among many others. With the current atmosphere of impunity in the Philippines, activists campaigning for the rights to ancestral land against large-scale mining and other extractive industries become targets of human rights violations by state-forces.
Instead of pursuing peace and justice, President Duterte has affirmed immunity to state-forces against any investigation or criminal case, and even encouraged them to carry on the attacks and offensives for the war on drugs and other counter-insurgency campaigns. While indigenous and human rights organizations call for state-accountability, military and police forces tainted by these issues were either promoted or re-assigned to different posts in the government.
The IPMSDL resolves to rally behind the IP, marginalized sectors, and peoples to call for justice in this climate of impunity and senseless killings in the Philippines. We echo the call of the UNHRC for the immediate cooperation of the government for the investigation and complete stop of the war on drugs and ensure the human rights and right to freedom of expression of all its citizens. We call on the international community, IP organizations, peace advocates and defenders of human rights to drumbeat the Filipino people’s pursuit of justice and lasting peace.
Reference: Beverly Longid, Global Coordinator | firstname.lastname@example.org