It has come to my attention that the Government of the Philippines last month filed a legal petition to have a number of organizations, associations and persons declared as terrorist and outlaws pursuant to the National Security Act of 2007. To my dismay, the list includes my name, along with the name of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and several other indigenous human rights defenders from across the country.
I have fought for human rights and, in particular, the rights of indigenous peoples my entire life; as former leader of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) and the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), expert member of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and currently co-convener of the Indigenous Peoples Major Group on Sustainable Development. I therefore denounce this unfounded and false accusation, which not only pose a risk to my security, but is also an affront to the exercise of the fundamental rights and freedoms associated with democratic governance, and to the human rights obligations of the Philippine government.
As noted by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, the Philippines is currently marked by a “context of widespread extrajudicial executions and ongoing attacks against voices who are critical of the current Government, including human rights defenders”.
I expect to have the possibility to take legal action to clear my name, and expect the Government to ensure the physical safety of those of us who are listed in the petition, as called for by UN experts.
I call on the international community to show solidarity and express their concern to the Philippine Government.
See press release by the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, and the Chairperson of the Coordination Committee of the Special Procedures at:
Article in the Inquirer: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/…/human-rights-group-slams-doj…
Reference: Joan Carling, Email: email@example.com