04/29/2019

Urgent Action: End Attacks Against Human Rights Defenders (Philippines: UA 54.19)


Cristina Palabay of Philippines-based human rights alliance Karapatan received on 22 April a text message from an unidentified person warning her and several others that they are targeted to be killed this year. Hours earlier, Karapatan member Bernardino Patigas was shot dead in Escalante City, Negros Occidental. He is the second human rights defender killed who was on a supposed ‘hit list’ released in 2018. The killing of Patigas and the threats against Palabay come amid increasing risks for human rights defenders in the country.

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  1. Write a letter in your own words or using the sample below as a guide to one or both government officials listed. You can also email, fax, call or Tweet them.
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Police General Oscar Albayalde
Chief, Philippine National Police
National Headquarters Building
Camp BGen Rafael Crame, Quezon City
1111 Philippines
Fax: +632 724 8749
Email: [email protected]
H.E. Jose Manuel G. Romualdez
Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines
1600 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington DC 20036
Phone: 202 467 9300 I 202 467 9366
Fax: 202 467 9417
Email: [email protected], [email protected]
Twitter: @PhilippinesUSA
Salutation: Dear Ambassador

Dear General Albayalde,

I am writing to express my concern over death threats received by a human rights defender in the Philippines, Cristina Palabay. Cristina is the secretary general of Karapatan, a coalition of several human rights groups and individuals. On 22 April, she received a text message from an unidentified person warning her and several other human rights defenders that they are targeted to be killed this year. The threats were all the more alarming as they came just hours after another human rights advocate, Bernardino Patigas, was gunned down in Escalante City, Negros Occidental province.

I note with grave concern that Patigas is the second human rights defender killed who was on a supposed ‘hit list’ disseminated by unknown individuals in Negros Occidental in 2018. The list, reported by Philippine media, asked the public to report through a specified phone number the whereabouts of these people, putting their lives at great risk. Also on the list was human rights lawyer Benjamin Ramos who was killed in November 2018. Dozens of other human rights activists, including environmental defenders, have also been killed since June 2016, as reported by media and human rights groups within and outside the country.

I therefore urge your office to act swiftly to protect human rights defenders in the country. Specifically, I call on you to open a prompt, thorough, independent and impartial investigation into the death threats against Cristina Palabay and other human rights defenders in the country, and bring those responsible to justice in fair trials; put in place effective mechanisms to protect human rights defenders at risk in consultation with them and in accordance to their wishes, and ensure they are able to carry out their work without fear of reprisals; and launch an effective investigation into the killings of human rights defenders and bring all those responsible to justice in fair trials.

Sincerely,

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES