By RONALYN V. OLEA, Bulatlat.com
March 3, 2012
MANILA – Speaking before an international conference, two Filipino human rights advocates exposed the continuing attacks on human rights defenders under the current government.
In a paper presented to the Conference on Defending Human Rights Defenders, February 24 at the Amnesty International UK Human Rights Action Centre in London, Edre Olalia, secretary general of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) and Cristina Palabay, spokeswoman of Karapatan, revealed that there are 37 human rights defenders slain under the Aquino administration.
“Even with a new government that promised to pursue reforms in governance, the killings, disappearances and violations continue. Being a human rights defender still means putting one’s life on the line,” they said in a paper entitled “From Defenders to Victims: The Plight of Human Rights Defenders in the Philippines Amidst Continuing Impunity.”
Karapatan has documented 67 victims of extrajudicial killings in the one and a half years of the Aquino’s presidency. There is approximately one killing per week. Three out of nine victims of enforced disappearances are human rights defenders. Most of them are farmers, indigenous peoples, workers and the urban poor who are defending their right to land, ancestral domain, livelihood, decent housing, jobs and other basic rights.
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