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Philippines
02.04.12
Urgent Interventions

Killing of Mr. Jimmy Liguyon

URGENT APPEAL - THE OBSERVATORY

PHL 002 / 0412 / OBS 030

Assassination

Philippines

April 2, 2012

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in The Philippines.

Brief description of the information:

The Observatory has been informed by the Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights (KARAPATAN) of the killing of Mr. Jimmy Liguyon, Vice Chair of the indigenous peoples’ group KASILO Lumad[1], belonging to the Matigsalog tribe, and Barangay (village) Chair of Dao, San Fernando, Bukidnon, Mindanao, southern Philippines. Mr. Liguyon was an indigenous leader and village chief in Bukidnon who steadfastly protected his village from the intrusion of destructive mining activities and bio-fuel plantations.

According to the information received, on March 5, 2012, at 6:30 pm, Mr. Jimmy Liguyon was shot dead inside his residence by a paramilitary group named the New Indigenous People's Army Reform (NIPAR), allegedly led by Mr. Alde Salusad a.k.a. Butsoy, who used an armalite rifle.

According to witnesses, Mr. Salusad allegedly said after the killing: “I killed the captain [village chief] because he wouldn’t [join] the SANMATRIDA and refused to give certification to SANMATRIDA”. He also warned that whoever complains and fights back will also be killed.

Subsequently, NIPAR issued a press release in the local media in Bukidnon, in which they claimed responsibility for the killing, accusing Mr. Jimmy Liguyon of being a supporter of the New People's Army (NPA), the armed group of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

In the past, NIPAR had pressured Mr. Liguyon to sign the papers that would consequently open Barangay Dao to large-scale mining operations.

Indeed, Mr. Liguyon was firmly opposed to the entry of mining companies in his village, where the main source of income is small-scale mining. In particular, he refused to join the San Fernando Tribal Datus Association (SANMATRIDA), which is a group of Lumads that has applied to obtain a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) over 52,000 hectares of land in several villages in San Fernando, Bukidnon, including Dao, which they have not been able to obtain so far as they could not gather all required documents, including the consensus Mr. Liguyon refused to sign that would have certified SANMATRIDA as the leading organisation of their indigenous community. The SANMATRIDA Multi-purpose Cooperative has been enticing mining investors into their domain. The tribal datu of Barangay Dao under the SANMATRIDA is a relative of Mr. Salusad, Datu ‘Manayab’ Carillo Salusad.

Following Mr. Jimmy Liguyon’s assassination, a blotter was filed at the local police station of San Fernando. A case was also filed at the Regional Trial Court and at the Commission on Human Rights for investigation. Yet, as of issuing this Urgent Appeal, only the Commission on Human Rights had promised to investigate the case.

The Observatory condemns Mr. Jimmy Liguyon’s extrajudicial killing, as it seems to be a mere reprisal for his peaceful human rights activities, as well as the ongoing stigmatisation of human rights defenders in The Philippines, who are often labelled by members of the army and the police as being sympathetic with, or belonging to, armed leftist groups, including the NPA, designated by both the United States and the European Union as a terrorist organisation.

In the past, Mr. Jimmy Liguyon had also been pressured by the paramilitary group TRIOM Force, for the same reasons.

In particular, in October 2011, Mr. Jimmy Liguyon had reported a series of harassment and attempts on his life, particularly by Ben Salusad aka Nonong, Mr. Alde Salusad’s father, who is associated with the Philippine Army’s 8th Infantry Battalion, and from the paramilitary group TRIOM Force. On October 13, 2011, Mr. Ben Salusad called Mr. Liguyon, and threatened that should he go back to Dao, they would kill him. On October 16, Angge Dal-anay, another leader of TRIOM Force, went with his group to Mr. Liguyon’s house, but the Liguyon family had moved out of Dao after Mr. Salusad’s threats. On October 28, 2011, Mr. Liguyon and his wife were coming home from a human rights’ day rally in Cagayan de Oro City, when they were stopped by armed men led by Dal-anay who marched them to a vacant house. Dal-anay told Mr. Liguyon to stop joining rallies, and that he should allow mining in Barangay Dao.

Mr. Liguyon also reported receiving information that Barangay Kagawad (village council members) Merlyn Isidro, Medy Mancilla and Fausto Bacliran, local buyers of gold in the area through their financier from Davao City and Valencia City who were encouraging large scale mining companies to operate in their locality, were allegedly planning to kill him through the armed men of Nonong Salusad.

Actions requested:

Please write to the Philippines authorities urging them to:

i. Guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical and psychological integrity of all human rights defenders in The Philippines;

ii. Order an immediate, thorough, effective and impartial investigation into the assassination of Mr. Jimmy Liguyon, the result of which must be made public, in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before a civil competent and impartial tribunal and apply to them the penal sanctions provided by the law;

iii. Provide adequate reparation to Mr. Jimmy Liguyon’s family;

iv. Take immediate steps to disband all paramilitary forces, including by revoking Executive Order 546 (2006);

v. Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against all human rights defenders in the Philippines, and ensure in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their work without hindrances;

vi. Comply with all the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted on December 9, 1998 by the United Nations General Assembly, in particular:

- its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually or in association with others, to promote the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”,

- its Article 6.a, which states that "everyone has the right individually and in association with others to know, seek, obtain, receive and hold information about all human rights and fundamental freedoms, including having access to information as to how those rights and freedoms are given effect in domestic legislative, judicial or administrative systems",

- Article 12.1, which foresees that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to participate in peaceful activities against violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms”,

- and its Article 12.2 which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration.”

vii. Guarantee the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and other international human rights instruments ratified by the Philippines.

Addresses:

· H.E. Benigno S. Aquino III, President of the Republic of the Philippines, New Executive Building, Malacañang Palace, JP Laurel St., San Miguel, Manila 1005, Philippines. Fax: +63 2 736 1010, Tel: +63 2 735 6201 / 564 1451 to 80

· Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), 7/F Agustin I Building, F. Ortigas Jr. Road, Ortigas Center, Pasig City, Philippines. Tel: + +63 2 6360701 to 06 / +63 2 637-6083. Fax: + 63 2 638-2216, Email: stqd@opapp.net

· Hon. Leila de Lima, Secretary, Department of Justice (DOJ), DOJ Bldg., Padre Faura, 1004, Manila, Fax: +63 2 521 1614, Email: soj@doj.gov.ph / doj.delime@gmail.com

· Hon. Loretta Ann P. Rosales, Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights, SAAC Bldg., UP Complex, Commonwealth Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines. Voice: +63 2 928-5655, 926-6188, Fax: +63 2 929 0102. Email: chair.rosales.chr@gmail.com / lorettann@gmail.com

· Secretary Voltaire T. Gazmin, Department of National Defense (DND), DND Building, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, Tel: +63 2 911-6193 / 911-1746, Fax +63 2 911-6213

· Hon. Juan Ponce Enrile, Senate President, Office of the Senate, Office of the Senate Secretary, Hon. Emma L. Reyes, 6th flr., Senate of the Philippines, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City, Tel: +63 2 552-6601 loc. 6129/23 & 24 / +63 2 552-6676, Email: osec@senate.gov.ph

· Hon. Jose Midas Marquez, Court Administrator, Supreme Court of the Philippines, 3rd Flr., New Supreme Court Bldg., Annex, Padre Faura St., Ermita 1000, Manila, Tel: +63 2 522 590 to 94, Fax: +63 2 526 8129, Email: pio@supremecourt.gov.ph / sc.judiciary@gov.ph

· Police Director General Raul M. Bacalso, Chief, Philippine National Police, Camp General Rafael Crame, Quezon City, Philippines, Fax: +63 2 724 8763/ +63 2 723 0401, Tel: + 63 2 726 4361/4366/8763, Email: feedback@pnp.gov.ph

· Hon. Emilio Gonzalez, Deputy Ombusdman, Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military And other Law Enforcement Offices, 3rd Flr., Ombudsman Bldg., Agham Road, Diliman, 1004 Quezon City, Fax: +63 2 926 8747 , Tel: +63 2 926 9032

· H.E. Mr. Evan P. Garcia, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the United Nations in Geneva, 47 Avenue Blanc, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 716 19 32, Email: geneva.pm@dfa.gov.ph

· Embassy of the Philippines in Brussels, 297 Avenue Moliere, 1050 Brussels, Belgium, Tel: +32 2 340 33 77 / 2 340 33 78, Fax: +32 2 345 64 25.

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of the Philippines in your respective countries.

***

Geneva-Paris, April 2, 2012

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, an OMCT and FIDH venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

· Email: Appeals@fidh-omct.org

· Tel and fax OMCT: + 41 22 809 49 39 / 41 22 809 49 29

· Tel and fax FIDH: +33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / 01 43 55 18 80

[1] Lumad people are indigenous of southern Philippines. Kasilo is an indigenous peoples organisation with membership from the southern municipalities in the province of Bukidnon. It is active in protecting and promoting the traditional culture and practices of the indigenous peoples. More importantly, they are working for the indigenous peoples’ communal rights to land, to economic opportunities and to self-determination. Kasilo is also promoting the sustainable use of environmental resources, and engages in small-scale mining and rattan harvesting. Because of this, Kasilo is steadfast in its stand against the entry of large-scale mining operations and logging in their communities.

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