The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in the Philippines.
Brief description of the situation:
The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources, including the Medical Action Group (MAG), the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) and the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), about the assassination of Ms. Gloria Capitan, 55, President of “Samahan ng Nagkakaisang Mamamaya ng Lucanin” (SNML - United Citizenry of Lucanin) and environmental activist opposed to the construction and presence of coal stockpile facilities in Lucanin, in the Mariveles neighbourhood, Bataan province.
According to the information received, on July 1, 2016, at around 7:30 p.m., Ms. Gloria Capitan was shot and killed by two unidentified men riding a motorcycle. The two assailants had been waiting near the entrance to the family’s business establishment in Purok 2, Barangay Lucanin, Mariveles municipality, Bataan province. One of the men entered the establishment and shot her four times in the neck and arm, in front of her cousin and two of her grandchildren, one of who was also hit by a bullet shell and sustained minor injuries. Ms. Gloria Capitan was first transported to a small clinic in Lucanin and later transferred to MAHESECO Multipurpose Cooperative Hospital in Mariveles. She died of multiple gunshot wounds shortly before arriving at MAHESECO hospital.
Family members living in the family’s compound nearby heard the gunshots followed by the witnesses’ screams. Ms. Gloria Capitan’s sons decided to chase the gunmen but lost them after the perpetrators turned off their vehicle’s lights. They went to the nearby police cluster  to ask for help. The police allegedly failed to respond quickly and did not set up a checkpoint. According to reports, the police in Mariveles are currently conducting investigations into Ms. Capitan’s killing.
Ms. Gloria Capitan faced intimidation and threats since 2015 in relation to her campaign activities opposing the construction and presence of the open coal storage facility located inside the Seafront Shipyard and Port Terminal Services Corporation, near their neighbourhood owned by the Limay Bulk and Terminal Handling Corporation. Ms. Gloria Capitan had led the community to file a petition to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), calling for the permanent closure of the open storage facility after members of the community complained of an increase in the number of severe asthma cases and respiratory diseases. There is also an ongoing case with the Ombudsman against the local government regarding the issue.
The Observatory strongly condemns the killing of Ms. Gloria Capitan and calls upon the authorities of the Philippines to conduct an immediate, thorough, effective, and impartial investigation in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before a civil competent and impartial tribunal, and apply the penal sanctions provided by the law.
Please write to the authorities in the Philippines, urging them to:
i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of all SNML members as well as all human rights defenders in the Philippines, including land and environmental rights activists;
ii. Carry out an immediate, thorough, impartial and transparent investigation into the killing of Ms. Gloria Capitan in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before an independent tribunal, and sanction them in accordance with the law;
iii. Provide adequate reparation and compensation to Ms. Gloria Capitan’s relatives;
iv. Put an end to any kind of harassment against all human rights defenders in the Philippines, recognise their legitimate role, and ensure in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their legitimate activities without any hindrance or fear of reprisals;
v. Comply with all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, especially its Articles 1 and 12.2;
vi. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by the Philippines.
· H.E. Rodrigo Roa Duterte, President of the Republic of the Philippines, Fax: +63 2 736 1010
· Justice Secretary Vitaliano N. Aguirre II, Secretary, Department of Justice (DOJ) of the Philippines, Fax: +63 2 523 9548, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
· Secretary Regina Paz L. Lopez, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) of the Philippines, Fax: +63 2 920 4301, Email: email@example.com
· Secretary Ismael D. Sueno, Secretary, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG Philippines), Fax: +63 2 925 0332
· Hon. Jose Luis Martin C. Gascon, Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights (CHR) of the Philippines, Fax: +63 2 929 0102, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
· H.E. Ambassador Victoria S Bataclan, Embassy of the Philippines in Brussels, Belgium, Fax: +32 2 345 64 25, Email: email@example.com
· H.E. Ms. Cecilia B. Rebong, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 716 19 32, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of the Philippines in your respective country.