Philippines: Criminalisation of indigenous leaders and human rights defenders

Education International joins its affiliate the Alliance of Concerned Teachers in expressing alarm about the deteriorating human rights situation in the Philippines as the country’s State Prosecutor is seeking to have teachers Indigenous peoples’ leaders and human rights defenders declared terrorists and outlaws

The list of alleged terrorists includes nationally and internationally renowned indigenous leaders and human rights defenders from the Cordillera and Mindanao regions Among them are Victoria Tauli-Corpuz UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Jeanette Ribaya Cawiding Regional Coordinator in the Cordillera region of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers ACT an Education International EI affiliate This latest attack against indigenous leaders and human rights defenders is taking place in the context of widespread extrajudicial executions and attacks against critics of the nbspGovernment Indigenous peoples in Mindanao have also been massively impacted by military operations since the implementation of martial law in May 2017 Martial law has recently been extended by the Congress until December 2018 Last July President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to bomb Lumad schools in Mindanao who he accused of ldquoteaching children to rebel against the governmentrdquo United Nations human rights independent experts have called on the Philippine authorities to immediately drop unfounded accusations against UN Special Rapporteur Tauli-Corpuz They consider the accusations to be an ldquoact of retaliationrdquo after public comments made by UN Special Rapporteurs about attacks on and killings of indigenous Lumad peoples by members of the armed forces in Mindanao ldquoIndigenous peoples and their leaders are in fact the victims of the terrorism of the State which sponsors the plunder of their homes and violence against their peoplerdquo stressed ACT representative Antonio Tinio ldquoOur indigenous peoples have been in the forefront in the struggle to protect the rich lands of our country from exploitative mining corporations and agri-business plantations These acts are not acts of terrorism They are not terroristsrdquo insisted another ACT Teachers representative France Castro Indigenous and human rights organisations have launched a petition calling on the Government of the Philippines to remove indigenous peoplesrsquo leaders and human rights defendersrsquo names from the list of alleged terrorists and ensure the protection of their physical safety human rights and fundamental freedoms President Rodrigo Duterte announced that the Philippines was withdrawing from the international criminal court after the court opened an investigation into his brutal war on drugs as a crime against humanity

[Thu, 29 Mar 2018 17:04:00 +0200] | DIGG THIS

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