“We express our solidarity with fellow land and people’s rights advocates in the Philippines in urging the government to immediately release and stop the persecution of 57 community leaders,” a joint statement issued by labor and human rights organizations read.
Anakpawis/Released, File photo
International organizations seek release of Negros activists
Elizabeth Marcelo, Emmanuel Tupas (The Philippine Star) - November 7, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA,Philippines — At least 59 international organizations called on the Philippine government yesterday to release the 57 people arrested in simultaneous raids on the offices of militant organizations in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental last week.

 “We express our solidarity with fellow land and people’s rights advocates in the Philippines in urging the government to immediately release and stop the persecution of 57 community leaders,” a joint statement issued by labor and human rights organizations read.

“We strongly condemn as a blatant violation of human rights the mass arrests of activists, including peasant leaders as well as several minors... by Philippine state forces,” it added.

Among the signatories in the joint statement are PAN Asia Pacific, Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development, Asia Pacific Research Network, Asian Peasant Coalition, Asian Rural Women’s Coalition, Coalition of Agricultural Workers International, European Network for Justice and Peace in the Philippines, and Youth for Food Sovereignty.

Authorities said 14 minors were among those taken into custody for illegal possession of firearms and explosives.

The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan and human rights group Karapatan had claimed the guns and explosives were planted, adding that those arrested were peasant leaders, human rights defenders, women’s rights activists and cultural workers.

The Philippine National Police denied allegations of a crackdown on left-leaning organizations, saying the raids were part of “normal” law enforcement operations.

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