Extrajudicial killings in Philippines still persist
31 December 2006 7:00 pm
In a report on 26 November, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary of arbitrary executions, Philip Alston said that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) had killed left-wing activists as part of their campaign against communist insurgents and civil society leaders. Although the number of killings decreased, extrajudicial killings still persist.
The Philippines has seen a decrease of extrajudicial killings in 2007 by 68 from 209 victims in 2006, as documented by Karapatan (Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights). This is the lowest number under President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s regime.
In his latest report issued on 26 November, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary of arbitrary executions, Philip Alston said that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) had killed left-wing activists as part of their campaign against communist insurgents, eliminating civil society leaders, including human rights defenders, land reform advocates and trade unionists. He rejected theories that the killings were committed by communist groups to discredit the government. Although he acknowledges that the New People’s Army (NPA) does carry out extrajudicial killings, he noted that “the evidence that [the NPA] is currently engaged in a large-scale purge is strikingly unconvincing”.
Following Alston’s report, Arroyo’s regime established a high-level “task force against political violence” to deal with extrajudicial killings and other political killings. She had vowed that the task force would “harness and mobilise” all government resources and enlist the support of the public and civil society to prevent and investigate the killings in order to bring the perpetrators to justice.
On 18 December 2007, United States lawmakers have agreed to increase military aid to the Philippines, but that some of the money would be contingent on human rights improvement. For the 2008, the country would receive USD30 million from USD29.7 million last year, where USD2 million would be subjected on the countries crackdown of extrajudicial executions by the state agents. US officials were reported to have said to want GMA’s government to implement the recommendations and reforms recommended by Alston before approving additional military aid.
The Philippines will be reviewed under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) by the Human Rights Council next year on April 2008.