Hypocrisy amid worsening rights situation in PHL – Karapatan
“PHILIPPINE President Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino feigns his administration’s concern for human rights with the adoption of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration, while his state security forces continue to commit human rights violations with impunity. This is hypocrisy, at the very least, and an international PR paradox, at most.”
Thus stated Phil. human rights group Karapatan after the Aquino government adopted the ASEAN HR declaration at the 21st ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said the Aquino administration duplicitous play is underscored by the several reported cases of rights abuses by the Phil. military and its paramilitary forces, especially against farmers, indigenous peoples and women human rights defenders.
Among the recent cases documented by Karapatan is the massacre of anti-mining activist Juvy Capion and her two sons in Tampakan, South Cotabato; the beheading of village councilor and peasant activist Ely Oguis in Guinobatan, Albay; and the labeling and harassment of Karapatan workers Jose Luis Blanco and Judde Baggo.
Karapatan documented 114 victims of extrajudicial killings, 12 victims of enforced disappearances, 70 cases of torture, 447 illegal arrests and 29,613 victims of forced evacuation during the past two years of the Aquino administration.
Palabay said that while the GPH has signed the declaration and various international HR instrumentalities, it has been more adept in violating these treaties, covenants and agreements. “Pray tell, has justice been served the victims, has the state professed compliance to these instruments resulted to prosecution and arrest of perpetrators, has there been a substantial departure from the government’s resolve and framework to put an end to the violations? On the ground, it just all look like mere PR stunts,” she commented.
Karapatan said the ASEAN HR declaration may be considered a step backwards for human rights advocates and the poor peoples in the region as it allows the exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms to be put in the “regional and national context” and “to meet the just requirements of national security, public safety,” instead of fully adhering to internationally accepted human rights standards.
“These are not just mere loopholes of the declaration which may be suited to the State parties’ interests, but we fear these provisions will be used to justify the States’ continuing violations of human rights in the region. The declaration will not only be deemed meaningless in the promotion, protection and realization of human rights, it may likewise be used as a blueprint for further rights violations,” Palabay said.