CHR hit for blaming protest organizers for Kidapawan dispersal
Cate de Leon (The Philippine Star) - June 4, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The counsel for farmers involved in the violent dispersal of a rally in Kidapawan City on April 1 has criticized the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) for finding the organizers among those at fault.

“We wonder why the CHR resolution had to gratuitously pin the blame on the rally organizers. This is adding insult to injury while casually imputing ideological motives totally immaterial to the justness of the cause and the validity of their demands,” said Edre Olalia of the National Union of People’s Lawyers.

“The CHR resolution unfortunately continues to cling to the cynical proposition that citizens are liable for human rights violations, diminishing the primary responsibility of their guarantees on the state and its agents,” Olalia said.

In a 46-page resolution, the CHR said criminal, civil and administrative charges should be filed against local government officials, law enforcement personnel, inquest prosecutors and protest organizers over the incident that left two protesters dead and over a hundred farmers and police officers injured.

Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas secretary-general Antonio  Flores said the CHR had gone too far in blaming the organizers by citing their supposed deception and instrumentalization of the poor and the marginalized “to taint the legitimacy of the farmers’ demand for food aid.”

 Flores said President Aquino, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala and Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman are “most responsible for criminal negligence for the outright denial of the people’s right to food.”

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