Karapatan protests the killings of two of its members: Ryan Hubilla and Nelly Bagasala and peasant leader Nonoy Palma.
Philippine gov’t, UN urged to probe killing of activists
Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) - June 19, 2019 - 1:53pm

MANILA, Philippines — The recent spate of activist killings in the country should be investigated by the Philippine government and the United Nations, New York-based watchdog Human Rights Watch said.

“The recent killings underscore that attacks on leftist activists is a serious human rights problem in the Philippines that has never gone away,” Carlos Conde, Philippine researcher for HRW, said Wednesday. 

He added: “The Philippine authorities should fully investigate these killings and bring those responsible to justice.”

Conde also said that the United Nations Human Rights Council, whose session is set on June 24, should ensure an international investigation into the “deteriorating human rights situation” in the Philippines, the government’s anti-narcotics campaign and killing of activists.

“UN member states should not let another session of the Human Rights Council go by without adopting measures that will put serious human rights violations in the Philippines under scrutiny,” the HRW officer said.

He added: “It’s clear that Duterte’s administration will not credibly investigate abuses in the ‘drug war’ and against activists on their own.”

Former Bayan Muna Bicol regional coordinator Neptali Moraga was gunned down in Naga City, Camarines Sur while on his way to work Monday morning. A day earlier, Nonoy Palma, a member of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas-affiliated KASAMA Bukidnon, was shot dead outside his house.

On Saturday morning, Ryan Hubilla and Nelly Bagasala of Karapatan-Sorsogon were killed by unidentified gunmen. Karapatan said the killing happened after their members in the province were subjected to “periodic surveillance by elements of the military intelligence company.”

Labor organizer Dennis Sequena from Partido Manggagawa was gunned down on June 2. 

HRW noted that very few of the killings of activists have been seriously investigated and hardly any have resulted in convictions.

The government has repeatedly denied that death squads and extrajudicial killings are not part of state policy. It has also stressed that security forces follow due process and respect human rights.

President Rodrigo Duterte and other government officials have also accused human rights defenders, however, of working with syndicates, terrorists and criminals.

The Commission on Human Rights earlier said it has deployed a quick response team to probe and monitor the recent killings of activists.

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