Farmers welcome human rights experts call for on-the-ground, impartial and independent probe on HRVs in PH

Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas and Tanggol Magsasaka welcomed the statement of 31 human rights experts urging the UN Human Rights Council to establish an independent investigation into human rights violations in the Philippines.

“This is timely and imperative especially at this period of relentless killings of activists, human rights workers and environmental defenders, including farmers and land reform advocates,” says Danilo Ramos who noted that 262 farmers and peasant leaders were killed since July 2016 under the Duterte administration.

KMP said it supports the proposal to establish an on-the-ground international investigation into the human rights situation in the Philippines, the strengthening of the OHCHR’s mandate to continue its monitoring and reporting on the human rights violations in the Philippines; and for the ICC to expedite and prioritize the completion of its preliminary examination of the situation in the Philippines. “It would be really beneficial to Filipinos’ quest for truth, justice and accountability if the UNHRC would consider the above-mentioned proposals of human rights experts,” says Ramos.

For its part, Tanggol Magsasaka noted a spike in peasant killings from March to June this year even as the country deals with the pandemic and lockdown imposed by the government. The PH government’s unashamedly used the health crisis to further impose repressive policies that curtail people’s rights. The killings and abuses continue to target farmers,” says Antonio Flores.

“Tanggol Magsasaka has documented extrajudicial killings, illegal arrests and illegal detention, filing of fabricated criminal charges, red-tagging and vilification, torture, surveillance, bombing of peasant communities and unending list of human rights violations committed by state forces. Core policies that sanction these abuses remain in place — the Memorandum Order No. 32, the Executive Order No. 70, and the entire whole-of-nation approach that refuses to make distinction between civilians and combatants, making farmers more vulnerable to state-sponsored abuses.

Tanggol Magsasaka documented the following peasant killings this month alone:

June 20, 2020

Harold Tablazon

Former member Federation of Iloilo Farmers Association

Brgy. Mayang, Tubungan Iloilo

June 20, 2020

Zaldy Meraya

Brgy. Bagacay, Palapag, Northern Samar

June 20, 2020

Bebe Tobino

Brgy. Bagacay, Palapag, Northern Samar

June 23, 2020

Jose Jerry Catalogo

National Federation of Sugar Workers

Brgy. Paitan, Escalante City, Negros Occidental

June 24, 2020

Elder Molina

Organisasyon ng Magsasaka sa Albay (OMA)

Brgy. San Isidro, Jovellar Albay

June 24, 2020

Jose Arthur Clemente

Organisasyon ng Magsasaka sa Albay (OMA)

Brgy. San Isidro, Jovellar Albay

KMP demands justice for the victims of peasant killings. ###

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