On 2019 Int’l Human Rights Day: Uphold social, economic and cultural rights! – Anakpawis

On 2019 Int’l Human Rights Day
Uphold social, economic and cultural rights! – Anakpawis

Manila, Philippines – Hundreds of members of Anakpawis Party-list joined the protest in Mendiola bridge, Manila, marking the 2019 International Human Rights Day. The group demanded for respect and protection of social and economic rights in the country, which are particularly for the peasants and workers, “Lupa, Sahod, Trabaho, Paninirahan at Karapatan” (Land, Wages, Jobs, Shelter and Democratic Rights). The country is a signatory to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

“It should be remembered that the mounting human rights abuses in the country is associated with the intensifying peasant demand for genuine agrarian reform and free distribution of land, workers’ strikes for wage hikes and security of tenure, or generally the basic sectors struggle for fundamental reforms. The extra-judicial killings and political persecution, are all confirmations of government repression who protects the status quo of landlessness and slav-like wages,” Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao, Anakpawis Party-list former representative said in a press statement.

He cited the carrying out of intensified attacks against activists in Negros, Samar and Bicol region which are covered by the Memorandum Order 32 issued by President Rodrigo Duterte.

“The Duterte government admits that the MO32 areas are hotbed of the New People’s Army, thus, his Total War Policy, or blatant disregard to the basic rights of unarmed civilians, who are majority from the peasant sector. He blanketly convicted all activists as members of the NPA, hence, they are fair game for state terrorism. The cases of mass killings in Negros and series of killings in Samar and Bicol, are proof of Duterte’s crimes against humanity,” he elaborated.

Crimes against humanity are certain acts of widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, as stated on Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), on which the country was a signatory since December 2000, until the Duterte government pulled out March 2019.

Prior the atrocities in the MO32 areas, Mindanao was ruled with the martial law since May 2017. The regime declared that many areas of the major island as NPA territories. As template militarist response, government armed forces attacked communities of peasant and lumad indigenous peoples.

“Rights to land and ancíestral lands of peasants and lumad is a non-agenda for Duterte, who actually betrayed his people. He favored mining, logging and plantation operations and displaced the poor sectors of Mindanao,” he added.

He stressed that as Duterte keeps his militarist approach to the people’s assertion of socio-economic rights, he adds to the list of his crimes against humanity.

“Duterte erred to think himself as an escape artist by pulling out from the ICC, when he is legally accountable up to March 2019, and his intensified crimes against the people up to the present will only add to his isolation in the international community. He should take cue on the Iceland-led human rights resolution at the United Nations General Assembly, and United States lawmakers’ concerns on human rights abuses in the country,” the former lawmaker warned.

Based on Karapatan human rights documentation, victims of extrajudicial under Duterte’s watch reached to 266 by June this year. Majority 216 victims are from the peasant sector and 10 were members of Anakpawis. More than 400,000 were victims of forced evacuation and more than 360,000 of bombings. The regime also added 285 victims to the total 545 political prisoners who are usually accused of trumped up charges. Notable mass killings were in the Negros island, where 20 victims were killed from December 2018 to March this year.

“Duterte clearly reigns with impunity, aversion to human rights and due process. He has no moral right to act as president of this country, but exhibits all the traits of a despot, tyrant or dictator, and criminal against humanity. Our demand this Human Rights Day is justice for all the victims of state terrorism and freedom for all political prisoners, but this is addressed to the freedom-loving Filipino people, not to Duterte, the very perpetrator,” he ended. ###

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