Urgent Appeal: The Philippines: Assassination, Death Threats And Intimidation Of Environmental Activists
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.
PHL 003 / 0612 / OBS 062
June 20, 2012
Brief description of the situation:
The Observatory has been informed by Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) of the intimidation of, and threats against, Ms. Carolyn R. Borja and Ms. Nenita Lacasa, respectively President of Carapdapan Movement for Development Association (CAMADA INC.), and staff member.
According to the information received, on June 19, 2012, Ms Lacasa was at home at 2pm on May 6, 2012, when Mr. Teros Lopido, Trustee of the President of the Terrestrial Mining Corporation, got off a pick up and aimed one shot at the upper storey before leaving the scene. Ms. Lacasa also reported that unknown individuals had been monitoring her home on several occasions in May, at times standing guard in a pick up with the same number plate. In addition, on May 23, 2012, individuals riding two motorcycles fired shots at 11 pm on Ms. Borja’s home before fleeing the scene.
These violent acts of intimidation come in the wake of the stabbing to death, on May 1, 2012, of Mr. Franciso P. Canayong, President of Integrated Upland Farmers Association of Salcedo (BIUFAS), and member of Carapdapan Land Owners Association (CLOA), an organisation registered with the department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). Mr. Canayong was also a member of CAMADA INC., and of Samar island partnership for peace and development. Mr. Canayong, a community leader, had led the people’s organization in actively supporting and advocating for peace and development issues, and particularly for the protection of the environment. He was active in the local campaign against the mining operation in Salcedo and in other parts of Eastern Samar, in the Eastern Visayas archipelago.
A few weeks before his killing, on March 19, 2012, Mr. Canayong, along with Ms Borja and Mr. Antonio M. Norte, barangay councilor, had filed an affidavit in relation to verbal threats they had overheard on March 17,2012, during a conversation between Mr. Lopido, and some of his colleagues. The affidavit stated that Mr. Lopido had mentioned the names of Mr. Canayong, Mr. Norte and Ms. Borja, and the names of their associations. According to the affidavit, Mr. Lopido had threatened that “if the mining operation [is] stopped, they must leave their home and never show up again” otherwise he would kill them. According to the affidavit, Mr. Lopido had said that he would “enter each of their houses and kill them” if Mr. Canayong and his companions “interfered with their incoming chromite ore shipment.”
Mr. Canayong had consistently opposed mining activities because of its detrimental health and environmental impact on the community. On March 14 and 15, 2011, he had joined a barricade in barangay Carapdapan to stop the illegal transport of chromite ore by Terrestrial Mining Corporation on its way to China. Due to the group’s actions, the mining company had filed a civil case for damages against Mr. Canayong, Ms. Borja and 3 other members of their group at the Regional trial Court (RTC) branch 139 in Makati City, Manila.
In September 2011, Mr. Canayong, along with Ms. Borja and members of their group, had filed complaints with the office of the Ombudsman for the failure of the local government to intervene and stop the illegal mining activities in the area.
Please write to the Philippines authorities urging them to:
- Guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Borja, Ms. Lacasa and Mr. Norte, and of all human rights defenders in general in the Philippines;
- Order an immediate, thorough, effective and impartial investigation into the assassination of Mr. Canayong, and the death threats against Ms. Borja and Mr. Norte, the result of which must be made public, 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;
- Provide adequate reparation to Mr. Canayong’s family;
- Comply with all the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted on December 9, 1998 by the United Nations General Assembly, in particular:
- its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually or in association with others, to promote the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”,
- its Article 6.a, which states that "everyone has the right individually and in association with others to know, seek, obtain, receive and hold information about all human rights and fundamental freedoms, including having access to information as to how those rights and freedoms are given effect in domestic legislative, judicial or administrative systems",
- Article 12.1, which foresees that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to participate in peaceful activities against violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms”,
- and its Article 12.2 which provides 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 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.”
- Guarantee the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights instruments ratified by the Philippines.
- H.E. Benigno S. Aquino III, President of the Republic of the Philippines, 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
- Hon. Leila M. De Lima Secretary, Department of Justice (DOJ) Padre Faura Street Ermita, Manila, 1000 Philippines Fax: +63 2 523 9548 Tel: + 63 2 521 1908 Email: email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
- Chairperson Loretta Ann P. Rosales, Commission on Human Rights (CHR) SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue, U.P. Complex, Diliman, Quezon City Philippines Tel: +63 2 928 5655, +63 2 926 6188 Fax: +63 2929 0102 Email: email@example.com
- Police Director Nicanor Bartolome Chief, Philippine National Police Camp General Rafael Crame Quezon City, Philippines Fax: +63 2 724 8763/ +63 2 723 0401 Tel: + 63 2 726 4361/4366/8763 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Hon. Emilio Gonzalez Deputy Ombusdman Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military And other Law Enforcement Offices 3rd Flr., Ombudsman Bldg., Agham Road, Diliman, 1004 Quezon City Fax: +63 2 926 8747 Tel: +63 2 926 9032
- H.E. Mr. Evan P. Garcia, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the United Nations in Geneva, 47 Avenue Blanc, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 716 19 32, Email: email@example.com
- 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 representations of the Philippines in your respective countries.
Geneva-Paris, June 20, 2012
Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
The Observatory, an OMCT and FIDH venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.
To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
- Email: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
- Tel and fax OMCT: + 41 22 809 49 39 / 41 22 809 49 29
- Tel and fax FIDH: +33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / 01 43 55 18 80