Amnesty International Canada

Urgent Action

Philippines: Protect Human Rights Defender Cristina Palabay

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Woman human rights defender, Cristina Palabay, is the Secretary General of the Philippine human rights organization, Karapatan. She is in grave danger. She has received an anonymous text message telling her that she and several others will be killed this year. 

UPDATE: December 2019. After participating in a Human Rights Day event, Cristina has received further death and rape threats. She says, "I deliberately made the threats public to have it documented and reported... because exposing it would be my best protection." 

We don't believe these are just threats. Earlier this year, a fellow Karapatan member – Bernardino Patigas – was shot dead. He was second on a "hit list"  released by unknown individuals in 2018 and picked up by national media.

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Will you email the Police General and urge him to protect Cristina and other human rights defenders in the Philippines?

Join us and help protect human rights defenders from violence

Additional Information

According to Cristina's human rights organization Karapatan, at least 50 farm workers and human rights advocates – in the Negros region alone – have been killed since President Rodrigo Duterte took office in July 2016. 

This number includes Bernardino Patigas. He was gunned down on 22 April 2019, as he left an event in Escalante City where he was seeking re-election as member of the city council. Patigas was the founder and secretary-general of North Negros Alliance for Human Rights Advocates, a member-organization of the human rights alliance Karapatan.

The hit list

48 human rights defenders belonging to the group have been killed since 2016. 

Patigas is the second human rights defender killed who was on a supposed ‘hit list’. The first was human rights lawyer Benjamin Ramos, who was killed in November 2018. The Philippine National Police has ordered an investigation into the killing of Ramos but has yet to release its findings.

Coordinated smear campaigns

Human rights organizations in the Philippines, including Karapatan, have faced smear campaigns and have been tagged by the government as fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines. 

This characterization and the increased threats against them from the government has subjected them to harassment, attacks and murder.

President Duterte’s so-called ‘war on drugs’

Many of the organizations linked by the government to communist groups have criticized the Duterte administration’s so-called ‘war on drugs’, which has resulted in the extrajudicial execution of thousands of people suspected of using or selling drugs, mostly from poor communities.

These blatant attempts to discredit and vilify groups and individuals trying to hold those in power to account is a growing trend we’re seeing across the world.

Email the Police General now to protect Cristina and other human rights defenders in danger. 

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