PHL 002 / 1113 / OBS 090
TheObservatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme ofthe World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federationfor Human Rights (FIDH), requests your urgent intervention in the followingsituation in Philippines.
Description of the information:
TheObservatory has been informed by Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP)about the killing of Ms. Elisa LascoñaTulid, a human rights defender in the agrarian reform sector and a leaderof the peasant group Samahan ng Magsasaka sa Barangay Tala at Camflora, inSitio Kumbenyo, Barangay Tala, San Andres, Quezon Province.
Accordingto the information received, on October 19, 2013 at 2 pm, Ms. Lascoña Tulid waswalking along with her husband and her four-year-old daughter when she was shotpoint-blank by a man who was identified as Mr. Rannie Bugnot, trustee of analleged land grabber in the area, Mr. Edwin Ausa. Ms. Tulid, who suffered gunshot wounds in thenape, mouth, left eye and left thigh, waspronounced dead on the spot. Her husband and daughter both managed to run away.Her husband ran to the military camp in Barangay Tala to seek help and reportthe incident. The military called the police, who arrested Mr. Bugnot on thesame day at his private house and charged him later.
TheObservatory firmly condemns and expresses its deepest concern about the killingof Ms. Elisa Lascoña Tulid, and considers it as an attempt to criminalise herefforts to defend human rights in the country and discourage other defendersworking for the same cause.
Ms.Elisa Lascoña Tulid had had several confrontations with Mr. Edwin Ausa and hisgroup when trying to prove her community’s rights to the land. She also filed acomplaint in 2012 beforethe Barangay Council againstthem when the group took crops cultivated by Ms. Lascoña Tulid’s family withouttheir consent. Ever since then Ms. Elisa Lascoña Tulid and her family have beenthreatened and harassed by Mr. Ausa and his group. One of the most seriousthreats they received was posed by Mr. Ausa when he said that he would kill allthe Tulids if they kept fighting for the land concerned.
TheObservatory urges the Philippine authorities to conduct an immediate, thorough,effective and impartial investigation into the facts reported above in order toidentify all those responsible, bring them before an independent and impartialtribunal and apply the sanctions provided by the law.
There is a persistent agrarian conflict in the Philippines.Traditionally, there has been a feudal exploitation system in Bondoc Peninsula,Southern Tagalog, where 80 per cent of the households depend on subsistencefarming (mainly banana and coconut monocropping) as well as fishing. Mr. Domingo Reyes,one of the main landholders in the region, holds an estimated surface of 12,000to 16,000 hectares and keeps a 60 per cent of these lands total harvest, whilethe remaining 40 per cent goes to the tenants, who also have to cover theproduction expenses.
In 1988 the Government launched the Comprehensive Agrarian ReformProgram (CARP) through which it bought all lands exceeding seven hectares andsold them to the landless farmers although frequently peasants did not want toapply for agrarian reform coverage due to fears to landowners.
In 2004, settlers requested to be covered by the CARP. Farmer tenantsworking on Reyes’ lands boycotted and stopped giving the 60 per cent share ofthe harvest when Ms. Elisa Lascoña Tulid and other settlers learned that thelands claimed by Mr. Reyes had been declared as public land and timberland bythe Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). Ms. Lascoña Tulidwas at the forefront of the fight to claim the lands declared as public.
It has been alleged by some sectors that Mr. Edwin Ausa and Mr. RannieBugnot are supporters of Mr. Reyes’ clan and have been trying to instill fearin the communities to prevent them from claiming their land rights.
Please write to the authorities in Philippines, urging them to:
i. Guaranteein all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Elisa Lascoña Tulid’s family and of all humanrights defenders in the Philippines;
ii. Orderan immediate, thorough, transparent, effective and impartial investigation intothe murder of Ms. Elisa Lascoña Tulid in order to identify all thoseresponsible, bring them before an independent tribunal, and apply them thesanctions provided by the law;
iii. Provideadequate reparation and compensation to Ms. Elisa Lascoña Tulid’s relatives;
iv. Putan end to any kind of harassment against all defenders who work for theprotection of land rights and human rights in general in Philippines;
v. Conformwith the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted bythe General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especiallyregarding the following Articles:
- Article1: everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, topromote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights andfundamental freedoms at the national and international levels;
- Article12.2: the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection bythe competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association withothers, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adversediscrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of hisor her legitimate exercise of his or her rights [...];
vi. Ensurein all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms inaccordance with international human rights standards and internationalinstruments ratified by Philippines.
· Hon. Benigno Simeon AquinoIII, President, Republic of the Philippines, Malacanang Palace, JP LaurelStreet, San Miguel, Manila 1005, Philippines; Fax: (+63) 2 736 1010;E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
· Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje,Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Visayas Avenue,Diliman, Quezon City 1100, Philippines, Fax: (+63) 2 920 4301; Trunkline:(+63) 2 929 6626 Local 2258, 2272, 2146; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
· Chairperson Loretta Ann P.Rosales, Commission on Human Rights (CHR), SAAC Bldg., CommonwealthAvenue, U.P. Complex, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines; Fax: (+63) 2929 0102;E-mail: email@example.com
· Police Director GeneralAlan LA Madrid Purisima, Chief, Philippine National Police, Camp General RafaelCrame, Quezon City, Philippines; Fax: (+63) 2 724 8763/ (+63) 2 723 0401;E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
· H.E. Mr. Mr. Denis Y. Lepatan,Ambassador, PermanentMission of Philippines to the United Nations. 47, Avenue Blanc, 1202 Geneva 19.Switzerland. Fax: (+41) (0) 22 716 19 32. E-mail: email@example.com
Pleasealso write to the diplomatic missions or embassies of Philippines in yourrespective country.
Geneva-Paris, November 15, 2013
Kindlyinform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in yourreply.
TheObservatory, an OMCT and FIDH venture, is dedicated to the protection of HumanRights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.
Tocontact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
· 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