Urgent Appeal

The Observatory has been informed by the Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights (KARAPATAN) about the assassination of Mr. Danilo N. Qualbar, Public Information Officer of Compostela Farmers Association (CFA)[1], an affiliate of the Peasant Movement of the Philippines (Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas - KMP), as well as the Cluster Coordinator of Bayan Muna (People First) Party list.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in the Philippines.

Brief description of the situation:

According to the information received, on November 6, 2008, around 5:30 pm, Mr. Danilo N. Qualbar was heading home when he was shot to death by unidentified armed men aboard a red XRM motorcycle in the barangay (district) of Osmeña some four kilometres from Poblacion, from where he was coming from, in the Municipality of Compostela, Compostela Valley, Mindanao. Mr. N. Qualbar sustained four gunshot wounds.

Earlier that day, Mr. Qualbar had told his wife that he would go to Poblacion to purchase goods for their household located in Sitio Nursery, about 30 minutes away from Poblacion, and about 300 meters away from the 72nd Infantry Battalion detachment of the Philippine Army (IBPA).

An eyewitness had alerted the residents that Mr. Qualbar had been stopped by armed men who talked to him before he was shot.

The Observatory expresses its deep concern with Mr. Danilo N. Qualbar’s assassination, which is further evidence of the wave of repression against human rights defenders in the Philippines, especially those working on the question of the agrarian reform, and recalls that the Philippines has been elected as a member of the Human Rights Council until 2010 and has, in this regard, committed to "uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights"[2].

Accordingly, the Observatory urges the Philippines to comply with Article 12.2 of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, which states that "the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any threats, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration".

Actions required:

Please write to the authorities of the Philippines urging them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of all human rights defenders in the Philippines;

ii. Order a thorough and impartial investigation into Mr. Danilo N. Qualbar’s assassination, in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before an ordinary competent and impartial tribunal and apply to them the penal sanctions provided by the law;

iii. Guarantee that adequate reparation is provided to his relatives;

iv. End all forms of harassment, including judicial harassment, again human rights defenders in the Philippines, and guarantee in all circumstances that they be able to carry out their work without any hindrance;

v. Conform with all the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, especially its Article 1, which states that "everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels" and above-mentioned Article 12.2;

vi. More generally, 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. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, President of the Republic, New Executive Building, Malacañang Palace, JP Laurel St., San Miguel, Manila 1005, Philippines. Tel: +632 564 1451 to 80 ; Fax: +632 742-1641 / 929-3968; Cell#: (+ 63) 919 898 4622 / (+63) 917 839 8462; E-mail: / /;
· Mr. Jesus D. Dureza, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), 7th Floor Agustin Building I, Emerald Avenue, Pasig City 1605, Philippines. Voice:+63 (2) 636 0701 to 066. Fax:+63 (2) 635 9579. Email:
· Mr. Gilberto C. Teodoro Jr., Department of National Defense, Room 301 DND Building, Camp Emilio Aguinaldo, E. de los Santos Avenue, Quezon City, Philippines. Voice:+63(2) 911-9281 / 911-0488. Fax:+63(2) 911 6213. Email:
· Mr. Raul Gonzalez, Secretary, Department of Justice, Building Padre Faura, 1004 Manila, Philippines; Tel: +63 (2) 523-8481; Fax: +63 (2) 521-1614; Email:
· Hon. Leila De Lima, Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights, SAAC Bldg., UP Complex, Commonwealth Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines. Fax: (+632) 929 0102. Email: :
· Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the United Nations in Geneva, 47 Avenue Blanc, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 716 19 32, Email:
· Embassy of the Philippines in Brussels, 297 Avenue Moliere, 1050 Brussels, Belgium, Tel: +32 2 340 33 77 / 2 340 33 78, Fax: +32 2 345 64 25.

Please also write to the diplomatic missions or embassies of the Philippines in your respective country.

Geneva-Paris, November 26, 2008

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need. The Observatory was the winner of the 1998 Human Rights Prize of the French Republic.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 20 11 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

[1] Compostela Valley Farmers Association is a farmers’ organisation that works for the rights and welfare of farmers in the said province. It is a member of KMP, the nationwide organisation of Philippine peasants championing the cause of the tillers’ right to land and to reap the fruit of their labour.
[2] See OP9 of UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/60/251.

Read more