A left-leaning human rights group on Thursday claimed that imprints of the Martial Law during the regime of deposed dictator and late strongman Ferdinand Marcos continues to exist under the regime of President Benigno Aquino “Noynoy” Aquino 3rd.
Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay called on the international community to support the call for justice on the 282 victims of extra judicial killings in the Philippines, including the 49 Lumad killed under the Aquino Administration.
“The palpable imprints of Marcos’ Martial Law continue to exist, as political killings perpetrated by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and their paramilitary groups continue unabated,” Palabay said in a statement.
The secretary general of Karapatan said in the statement that the counter-insurgency program of the Aquino administration dubbed as ‘Oplan Bayanihan’ has resulted to the killings, illegal arrest and detention, torture forcible evacuation of whole communities among others.
“These violations, committed with impunity, have to stop,” Palabay said in the statement.
A conference organized by the German Action for Human Rights in the Philippines (Aktionsbundnis Menschenrechte Philippinen-AMP) was held from September 21-22, 2015 in Berlin, Germany.
The AMP is a network of Germany-based organizations namely Amnesty International-Germany, Bread for the World, the United Evangelical Mission (UEM) Misereor, Mission Munich, philippinenburo im Asienhaus, and IPON.
She also pointed out in her statement that human rights defenders of Karapatan have become targets of the Armed Forces of The Philippines (AFP) because they stand by victims of human rights violations, specifically the Lumad people of Mindanao.
Palabay was an invited speaker to the conference with the theme “Democracy – No Guarantee for Human Rights Repression against Civil Society in the Philippines” where she spoke on the impunity of human rights violations against human rights defenders in the Philippines.
The United Church of Christ in the Philippines general secretary Bp. Reuel Marigza, also a speaker in the said conference, appealed to the international community to support the Lumad who were forcibly displaced from their communities due to military operations of the AFP.
Palabay also met Angelika Glockner, a German parliamentarian and member of the Bundestages’ Committee on Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid, to brief her on the human rights situation in the Philippines.
“We are also enjoining human rights advocates in Germany and in Europe to demand that the Philippine government-issue official invitations to the UN special rapporteurs on extrajudicial killing, human rights defenders and the rights indigenous peoples,” Palabay said.
Karapatan earlier submitted complaints to the UN special procedures on the September 1 killing of Lumad leaders Dionel Campos and Datu Juvello Sinzo, and Emerito Samarca, executive director of Lumad alternative school ALCADEV.
The human rights group also welcomed the September 22, 2015 joint statements issued by UN Special Rapporteurs on the rights of indigenous peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, and on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst, on the killing of Campos, Sinzo and Samarca.
“Military occupation of civilian institutions and killing of civilians, particularly in places such as schools which should remain safe havens for children from this type of violence, are unacceptable, deplorable and contrary to international human rights and international humanitarian standards,” the special rapporteurs said.
Palabay added in the statement that Mr. Forst is urging the Aquino administration to finally accept his repeated requests to visit the country in order to assess the environment in which human rights defenders operate in the Philippines.