November 9, 2018
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a jointpartnership of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, requestsyour urgent intervention in the following situation in the Philippines.
Description of the situation:
TheObservatory has been informed by reliable sources about the killing of humanrights lawyer Mr. Benjamin Ramos, a founding member of the NationalUnion of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) and the Secretary General of its chapter inNegros Occidental Province. He was also a well-known advocate for peasants’rights and the Executive Director of the Paghidaet sa Kauswagan DevelopmentGroup (PDG), a non-governmental organisation assisting peasants in the sameprovince.
Accordingto the information received, on November 6, 2018, at 10:50 pm, Mr. Benjamin Ramoswas shot by motorcycle-riding gunmen in front of a store in Barangay 5,Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental Province. His body sustained at least threegunshot wounds. He was brought to the Holy Mercy Hospital in Kabankalan City,where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
Mr.Ramos was a well-known human rights defender who provided pro-bono legal aid tovictims of human rights abuses, representing the most marginalized people inthe Philippines, including peasants, political prisoners, and victims ofenforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings. Most recently, Mr. Ramoswas representing the families of nine farmers who were killed after joining aprotest on a sugarcane plantation in Sagay City, Negros Occidental Province, onOctober 20, 2018.
The Observatory condemns in the strongest terms thekilling of Mr. Benjamin Ramos and urges the authorities of the Philippines to carry out a thorough,impartial, and transparent investigation into his murder without undue delayand to hold those responsible accountable.
The Observatory expresses its utmost concern over thesurge of killings and attacks against human rights defenders in thePhilippines and reiterates its call upon the authorities to adopteffective measures to ensure the protection of human rights defenders in thecountry and to ensure proper investigations into these killings and attacks.
Pleasewrite to the authorities of the Philippines asking them to:
i. Guarantee in allcircumstances the physical and psychological integrity of all humanrights defenders in the country;
ii. Carry out an immediate, thorough, impartial, and transparentinvestigation into the murder of Mr. Benjamin Ramos in order to identify allthose responsible, bring them before an independent tribunal, and sanction themas provided by the law;
iii. Put an end to all acts of harassment against allhuman rights defenders in the Philippines, and ensure that they are able to carry outtheir legitimate activities without any hindrance and fear of reprisals;
iv.Conform to the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders,adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998,especially its Articles 1 and 12.2;
v. Ensure in all circumstances respect forhuman rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international humanrights standards and international instruments ratified by the Philippines.
· H.E.Rodrigo Duterte, President of the Republic of the Philippines, Fax: +632742-1641 / 929-3968, Email: email@example.com or send message through http://president.gov.ph/contact-us/
· Mr. TeodoroLocsin Jr, Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines, Email:firstname.lastname@example.org;
· Hon.Menardo Guevarra, Secretary, Department of Justice of the Philippines, Fax:(+632) 521-1614, Email: email@example.com
· Hon.Jose Luis Martin Gascon, Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights of thePhilippines, Fax: +632 929 0102, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
· H.E.Mr. Evan P. Garcia, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the Philippines tothe United Nations Office in Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 716 19 32 Email: email@example.com
· Embassyof the Philippines in Brussels, Belgium, Fax: +32 02 345 64 25, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please also write tothe diplomatic representations of the Philippines in your respective countries.
Geneva-Paris, November 9, 2018
Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of thisappeal in your reply.
The Observatory for the Protection of HumanRights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by the WorldOrganisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH. The objective of this programmeis to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rightsdefenders. OMCT and FIDH are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the EuropeanUnion Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civilsociety.
To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
· E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
· Tel and fax OMCT +41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / +41 22 809 49 29
· Tel and fax FIDH +33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80