UNHRC: Conduct Investigation on Slain Environmental Defenders and Victims of Human Rights Violations

September 14, 2020

Solidarity Statement on the Global Day of Action

Killings of environmental defenders continued in the country even during the COVID-19 crisis. Within the period of enhanced community quarantine, 2 have been killed, while 553 others suffered other forms of human rights violations.

Justice remains elusive for Jory Porquia, who was a leader of the anti-mining Madia-as Ecological Movement in Panay and active in COVID-19 relief efforts, and Randall Enchanis, land defender and co-convenor of the Network Resisting Expansion of Agricultural Plantations that led campaigns for biodiversity.

The accounts of environment-related executions during the health crisis provide further evidence to the United Nations Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) 44th session report of systematic and widespread human rights violations in the country that was denied by the Philippine Justice Secretary.

The number of slain environmental defenders is expected to heighten with the Anti-Terrorism Law as seen from the trend of arrests and other human rights violations only weeks after its passage in the midst of the health crisis.

Additionally, the immense 16-billion peso budget proposal of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), an approximately 2000% increase from the previous budget, is feared to intensify these killings. Historically, environmental defenders fall victim to red-tagging or terrorist-tagging which is used by state forces to justify attacks against civilians and concerned citizens.

In today’s Global Day of Action, the Center for Environmental Concerns-Philippines resounds the call to stop attacks and killings of the Filipino people who are concerned about the welfare of the country. We demand accountability from the government and seek an independent and impartial investigation from the UNHRC on all the extra-judicial killings and human rights violations in the country.