[Press Release] PH human rights defenders, courageous, tenacious and endangered- international human rights report

PH human rights defenders, courageous, tenacious and endangered- international human rights report

Photo by PAHRA

Photo by PAHRA

Human rights defenders in the country should all converge at all levels and put together a people’s human rights plan and a corresponding monitoring mechanism so as to ensure their effective enagement with government, according to international human rights report, The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (OBS), released by international human rights groups today.

The report entitled “We are not afraid”: Land rights defenders: attacked for confronting unbridled development”, http://www.omct.org/files/2014/12/22918/obs_2014_uk_web2.pdf which documents 74 cases and studies the situation of land rights defenders in 29 countries, covering all regions, found that they have been facing multiple human rights violations, including the most extreme forms of reprisals and intimidation, such as threats and violence, forced disappearances and extra-judicial killings, smear campaigns, illegal surveillance, judicial harassment and arbitrary detention, even though the action of the defenders is not only legitimate but also protected under international human rights law.”

The OBS was created in 1997 by International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the Organisation Mondiale Contre la Torture (OMCT) or World Organization Against Torture. The objective of this program is to intervene to prevent or remedy to situations of repression against human rights defenders.

FIDH https://www.fidh.org/en/ is an international human rights organization composed of 178 member organizations worldwide. FIDH Secretariat is based in Paris, France. The report was released here in the Philippines in coordination with the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA). PAHRA is a member organization of the FIDH.

“We recognize all land rights defender who were killed for having fought for our rights, particularly on this occasion, those involved in fighting for land historically-rooted issue of land rights in the Philippines like the killing of Rene Barrientos, President of Barangay Nagasi Farmers and Farmworkers Organization (BANFFO), of Brgy. Nagasi, La Carlota City, Negros Occidental, on October 21, 2014 in Hacienda Najalin due to ongoing land conflict with landowners under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) until today,” Max de Mesa, PAHRA Chairperson said.

According to the report, even if international human rights instruments indirectly provide for the protection of land rights, land users often face insecurity in the enjoyment of their land rights, which may not be recognized and respected at the national level. Indeed, national laws often fail to incorporate the requirements of the international human rights instruments that countries adhered to such as the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (IPRA) of 1997 of the Philippines (Republic Act No. 8371) https://hronlineph.com/resources/domestic/ra-8371-indigenous-peoples-rights-act/ requires the respect of the right to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) of affected indigenous peoples.

“We call on the Philippine government for more action, less talks when it comes to its compliance with the various international human rights obligations. Until to this date, to have an official and coherent National Human Rights Action Plan, the government has failed to really make human rights the paradigm of governance and development.  We are likewise disappointed at the country’s National Human Rights Institution for allowing the absence of a human rights direction to persist for four years.  While some new laws strengthen human rights, like the laws against torture and that criminalizing enforced disappearance, no one has been so far convicted,” Rosemarie Trajano , Vice President, FIDH, concluded.

The report, The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders’2014 Annual Report entitled “We are not afraid: Land rights defenders: attacked for confronting unbridled development”, launched today simultaneously around the world, -end-


Rose Trajano +63906-553-17-92


Press release
December 2, 2014

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