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Urgent Interventions

Unfounded terrorist accusations against dozens of human rights defenders

PHL 001 / 0318 / OBS 032

Criminalisation / Threats /



March 19, 2018

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnershipof the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, requests your urgentintervention in the following situation in thePhilippines.

Briefdescription of the situation:

The Observatory has been informedby reliable sources about the unfounded terrorist accusations against dozens of human rights defenders.

According to the information received, onFebruary 21, 2018, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a petition before theManila Regional Court against more than 600 individuals, tagging them asterrorists under the HumanSecurity Act of 2007 (Republic Act 9372), also known as the Anti-Terrorism Law, for to their alleged connection with the Communist Partyof the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA).

The list comprises several prominent Filipinohuman rights defenders, including Ms. VictoriaTauli-Corpuz, UnitedNations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples[1] Ms. Joan Carling, Co-convener of the Indigenous Peoples MajorGroup on the Sustainable Development Goals, former Secretary General of theAsia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) and former member of the UN Permanent Forumon Indigenous Issues; Mr. Windel Bolinget, Chairperson of the CordilleraPeoples Alliance (CPA) andNational Co-Convenor of KATRIBU National Alliance of Indigenous Peoples in thePhilippines; Ms. Joanna Cariño, member of CPA AdvisoryCouncil and Co-Chair of the SANDUGO Movement of Moroand Indigenous Peoples for Self Determination; Mr. JoseMolintas, human rights lawyer, former member of the UN ExpertMechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP), and member of the CPAAdvisory Council; Ms. Beverly Longid, Global Coordinator for the IndigenousPeoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) and member of CPAAdvisory Council; Ms. Jeanette Ribaya Cawiding, Regional Coordinator ofthe Alliance of Concerned Teachers - Cordillera; Mr. Sherwin De Vera,Regional Coordinator of DEFEND-Ilocos and member of the Save The Abra RiverMovement (STARM); Ms. Elisa Tita Lubi, Karapatan National Executive Committee member; Mr. Isidro Indao, Matigsalog-Manobo village chief, council memberof the PASAKA Lumad Confederation in Southern Mindanao, and an activemember of the Parent-Teacher Community Association of the Lumad school run bythe Mindanao Interfaith Services Foundation, Inc.; Mr. Mandayhon Han-ayan, Talaandig village chief inMalaybalay, Bukid, and member of the PIGYAYONGAAN Lumad organization; Mr. Mandayhon, a Talaandig villagechief and member of thePIGYAYONGAAN Lumad organization; Mr. Sergio Lumonday, SecretaryGeneral of Tinananon Kulamanon Lumadnong Panaghiusa (TIKULPA), a local organisation standing against agri-business plantations andother corporate business interests in the area; Ms. ZaraAlvarez, Research and Advocacy Officer of the Negros Island HealthIntegrated Program (NIHIP) and former Campaign and Education Director ofKarapatan-Negros chapter; Mr. Romulo Bito-on, Regional Coordinatorof Makabayan-Negros and member of the Samahan ng Ex-detainees Laban saDetensyon at Aresto (SELDA); Ms. Rogina Navarro Quilop, AdministrativeOfficer of the Center for People’s Resources and Services (CPRS)-Negros; Mr. IsidroCastillo, former Chairperson of the National Federation of SugarWorkers (NFSW); Mr. Arnold Evangelista and Mr. Erlindo Baes,officers of the Batangas Human Rights Alliance-Karapatan.

Moreover, the listreportedly includes names of individuals already deceased or disappeared,including Ms. Kamil Manangan, former Gabriela Youth Spokesperson who waskilled in November 2017, and Ms. Luisa Posa-Dominado, then SELDASpokesperson who has been missing since April 12, 2007.

The Observatory strongly condemns these unfounded terrorist accusations against the above-mentioned human rightsdefenders, which take place in a contextof a surge of killings and attacks against human rights defenders in thePhilippines under President Duterte[2] and put their lives and safety at great riskand only aims at punishing them for theirpeaceful and legitimate human rights activities.

The Observatory further recalls that under the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nationsof 1946, UN experts have immunity from legal proceedings of every kindundertaken in the course of their mandated work.

The Observatory urges the authorities of the Philippines to remove thenames of the above-mentioned human rights defenders from the list of allegedterrorists and to guarantee, in all circumstances, their physical and psychological integrity.

Actions requested:

Please write tothe authorities in the Philippines, urging them to:

i. Guarantee, in allcircumstances, the physical and psychological integrity of the above-mentioneddefenders as well as all human rights defenders in the Philippines;

ii. Remove the names of the above-mentioned human rightsdefenders from the list of alleged terrorists;

iii. Put an end to anyharassment against all human rights defenders in the Philippines, recognise that human rights defenders have alegitimate role to play in ensuring peace, justice and democracy, and thereforeensure in allcircumstances that they are able to carry out their legitimate activitieswithout any hindrance and fear of reprisals;

iv. Conform with the provisionsof the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the GeneralAssembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, in particular with Articles1 and 12.2;

v. Ensure in all circumstancesrespect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance withinternational human rights standards and international instruments ratified bythe Philippines.


· H.E. Rodrigo Duterte,President of the Republic of the Philippines, Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968,E-mail: or send message through

· Hon. Jesus Dureza,Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Fax: +63 (2) 638 2216,,

· Ret. Maj. Gen. DelfinLorenzana, Secretary, Department of National Defense, Fax: +63(2) 982-5600,Email:,

· Hon. Vitaliano Aguirre,Secretary, Department of Justice, Fax: (+632) 521-1614,

· Hon. Jose Luis Martin Gascon,Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights, Fax: (+632) 929 0102,

· H.E. Mr. Evan P. Garcia,Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the United Nations Officein Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 716 19 32 Email:

· Embassy of the Philippines inBrussels, Belgium, Fax: (+32) 02 345 64 25, E-mail:

Pleasealso write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of the Philippines located inyour country.


Geneva-Paris, March 19, 2018

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

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (theObservatory) was created in 1997 by the World Organisation Against Torture(OMCT) and FIDH. The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedysituations of repression against human rights defenders. OMCT and FIDH are bothmembers of, the European UnionHuman Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact 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

[1]Ms. Tauli-Corpuz hadrecently denounced human rights violations of indigenous peoples in the southof the country.

[2] For more information, see Observatory PressRelease, September 8, 2017.

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