The UN must address the government of the Philippines pattern of reprisals

Joint statement at the 45th Session of the UN Human Rights Council -- CIVICUS and Karapatan, delivered by Roneo Clamor

CIVICUS and its member organisation Karapatan welcome the Secretary General’s report and recommendations on reprisals. It reflects the systemic patterns of reprisals which we see in the Philippines against human rights defenders engaging with the UN.

Karapatan paralegal Zara Alvarez was killed last month. This year alone, human rights defenders Teresita Naul and Alexander Philip Abinguna were arrested and are still detained, while Karapatan colleagues Jay Apiag, Clarizza Singson, Julius Dagatan, Reylan Vergara, Petty Serrano, and myself, routinely receive online and offline attacks on a daily basis, including judicial harassment. Our Secretary-General Christina Palabay has suffered rape and death threats following advocacy at the Council, including to support the adoption of resolution 41/2 on the Philippines last year. The same patterns of reprisals are reported against other NGOs as well.

Karapatan was accused by the Philippines government of being a terrorist organization, prompting an independent audit into longstanding funding from Belgium. The audit found no irregularities. But such baseless allegations before the Council impedes our access to resources for human rights advocacy in the Philippines and within UN institutions.

The Philippines is a member of this Council. That reprisals continue unabated, without accountability, has a direct impact on the worth of the UN as a whole. We urge the Council to address the Philippine government’s patterns of reprisals against human rights defenders. We appeal to the Council to work towards an independent investigation on the human rights situation in the Philippines.

Civic space in Philippines rated as  Obstructed by the CIVICUS Monitor


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