Human rights groups believe the inclusion of Victoria Tauli-Corpuz on the list was a retaliation for the public comments she had made about the Philippines in her mandate as special rapporteur.
UN experts welcome decision on special rapporteur
Gaea Katreena Cabico ( - August 22, 2018 - 11:46am

MANILA, Philippines — United Nations experts welcomed the ruling that cleared UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz from the government petition seeking to declare her and hundreds of others as terrorists.

In a resolution late July, Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 19 declared Tauli along with former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo, National Democratic Front of the Philippines consultant Rafael Baylosis and human rights advocate Jose Melencio Molintas as “non-parties” to the Department of Justice proscription petition.

Manila RTC Presiding Judge Marlo Magdoza-Malagar found “nothing” in the petition that pointed to Corpuz as officer or representative of Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, New People’s Army.  

READManila court declares Satur Ocampo, others ‘non-parties’ to terror petition

Human rights groups believe the inclusion of Tauli on the list was a retaliation for the public comments she had made about the Philippines in her mandate as special rapporteur.

“The fact that a UN mandate holder was the subject of such an acceptable attack is very serious cause for concern,” said Dainius P?ras, chair of the Coordination Committee of Special Procedures.

But while P?ras and special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders Michel Forst welcomed the decision clearing Tauli and three others, they appealed to the Philippine government to remove all human rights defenders from the list.

“The inclusion of human rights defenders, among them indigenous peoples, on the government list amounts to intimidation and harassment of people who are peacefully defending their rights,” Forst said.

He noted that removing few high profile names from the list “will not make us stop drawing attention to the situation of the others, whose physical safety and integrity is still under immense pressure.”

The petition, filed by DOJ under former chief Vitaliano Aguirre II, accused more than 600 individuals of being terrorists and members of the New People’s Army and the Communist Party of the Philippines.

The terrorist petition has been criticized for endangering the lives of the individuals included on the list.

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