Death threats PHL 001 / 0709 / OBS 093

09/07/2009
Urgent Appeal

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), expresses its deepest concern regarding the following situation in the Philippines.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) and the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) about death threats against Ms. Aurora Broquil, Ms. Emily Fajardo and Mr. Francisco Honra, three human rights defenders of Central Luzon.

According to the information received, on June 27, 2009, between 9am and 10am, Ms. Aurora Broquil, Chairperson of the Movement for National Democracy (Kilusan para sa Pambansang Demokrasya - KPD), and Ms. Emily Fajardo, KPD member and treasurer of the Nuclear-Free Bataan Movement (NFBM), received death threats through text messages, stating that “The barrel of our guns will be the last thing that you will see! You, communists, who have blood debts with the Filipino people, will pay for it!". Mr. Francisco Honra, NFBM Secretary General, had received the same message the day before.

On June 28, 2009, Ms. Aurora Broquil was alerted by the unusual presence of two unidentified men riding in two motorcycles, roaming in the vicinity of her office in Dolores, city of San Fernando.

Recently, Ms. Broquil was responsible for the filing of cases of extra-judicial executions against police personnel before the Commission on Human Rights involving Messrs. Alberto Ocampo and Jose Gonzales, who were killed on April 29, 2009 by elements of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Provincial Mobile Group (PMG) of Bataan headed by PO2 Vinluan[1].

The three defenders had also recently worked on a case of arbitrary arrest and torture against three activists from the anti-Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.

The Observatory expresses its deepest concern about the death threats against Ms. Aurora Broquil, Ms. Emily Fajardo and Mr. Francisco Honra, which seem to merely aim at sanctioning their human rights activities, and calls upon the authorities of the Philippines to order a prompt, effective, thorough, independent and impartial investigation into the above-mentioned death threats, the result of which must be made public, in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before a competent, independent and impartial tribunal and apply to them the penal sanctions provided by the law.

Actions requested:

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

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Aurora Broquil, Ms. Emily Fajardo and Mr. Francisco Honra;

ii. Order a prompt, effective, thorough, independent and impartial investigation into the above-mentioned death threats, the result of which must be made public, in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before a competent, independent and impartial tribunal and apply to them the penal sanctions provided by the law

iii. Put an end to any kind of harassment against human rights defenders in the Philippines, and ensure in all circumstances that they be able to carry out their human rights activities without hindrances;

iv. Comply with all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, in particular with Article 1, which provides that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, as well as with Article 12.2 (“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 violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”);

v. More generally, ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and with international and regional human rights instruments ratified by the Philippines.


Addresses

· H.E. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, President of the Republic, New Executive Building, Malacañang Palace, JP Laurel St., San Miguel, Manila 1005, Philippines. Fax: +63 2 736 1010, Tel: +63 2 735 6201 / 564 1451 to 80; E-mail: corres@op.gov.ph / opnet@ops.gov.ph;

· Hon. Eduardo Ermita, Chairperson, Presidential Human Rights Committee (PHRC), 3rd Flr. New Executive Bldg. Office of the President, Malacanang Compound, Manila, Philippines. Trunk Line: + 632 735 6201 Loc. 5301 & 5503. Telefax: + 632 734 6761. Email: phrc.phil@gmail.com

· Hon. Leila De Lima, Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights, SAAC Bldg., UP Complex, Commonwealth Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines. Fax: +632 929 0102. Email: : atty_delima@yahoo.com.ph

· 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: osec@opapp.gov.ph

· Atty. Jasmin Navarro-Regino, Regional Director, CHR, Region 3, 3rd Flr. Kehyeng Bldg, Dolores Junction, Dolores, City of San Fernando, Pampanga, Philippines. Tel. No. +45 2 9614830. Tel-Fax. No. +45 2 9614475. Email: attyjnr@yahoo.com

· General Eduardo Versoza, PNP Chief, Office of the Chief, PNP, National Headquarters Philippine National Police, Camp Crame, Edsa, Quezon City, Philippines. Tel: +632 9116213. Fax: +632 7248763

· Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the United Nations in Geneva, 47 Avenue Blanc, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 716 19 32, Email: mission.philippines@ties.itu.int

· 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, July 1, 2009

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:

E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org

Tel and fax OMCT + 41 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

Tel and fax FIDH + 33 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80

[1] Messrs. Ocampo and Gonzales may have been killed upon suspicion that both are members of an armed group, the People’s Revolutionary Army (Rebolusyunaryong Hukbong Bayan - RHB). Furthermore, on April 29, 2009, Ms. Imelda A. Zulueta, Mr. Alberto Ocampo’s wife, was arrested at her home in Sitio Lati, Brgy Kaparangan, Orani, Bataan, along with Jayson Valencia, a minor. She was subsequently charged with “harbouring elements of an armed group”. Ms. Zulueta is also a member of a local women’s organisation, Kaisaka (You Are One With Us), and she participated actively in protests against the reactivation of the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Plant, as well as in other issues that impact on human rights, particularly on women’s rights.

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