By PhilRights Staff

Welcome to HR Insights, a weekly roundup of human rights news in the Philippines. This week…

102 dead under Tokhang since PNP rejoined “war on drugs”

Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesperson Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao announced that 102 alleged drug offenders were killed by the PNP from December 5 to March 1.

An Agence France-Presse  (AFP) report reported Bulalacao’s confirmation of the numbers. The report also noted that December 5 was when President Duterte once again transferred the bulk of anti-illegal drug operations to the PNP.

A separate government report also quoted by the wire agency AFP tallied 4,021 deaths of what the government calls “drug personalities” between June 2016 – the start of the Duterte presidency – and February 8 of this year.

International Women’s Day 2018 marked by protests in PH 

Thousands of women’s rights supporters gathered in the streets of Manila and other cities nationwide to commemorate International Women’s Day on March 8.

Women’s groups took the occasion to denounce the worsening human rights situation in the country and the many anti-women actions of the government.

In a statement, LILAK (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights) urged women to “RISE, RESIST, RECLAIM our rights, our voice, our territories” and expressed solidarity with “ our indigenous women sisters who stand with courage asserting their rights to their land, to life with dignity.

Read LILAK’s full statement here.

Filipina UN Special Rapporteur tagged a terrorist by DOJ

In what can’t help but feel like a cruel joke for women’s month, another woman has joined the list of the Duterte administration’s targets.

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, a United Nations special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, was among over 600 people named in a Department of Justice (DOJ) petition as a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines and its New People’s Army.

Human rights groups were quick to condemn the petition filed in February. Carlos Conde, researcher for Human Rights Watch, called it a “virtual government hit list” which puts the hundreds of Filipinos in the petition at risk of attacks from state security forces. Conde also quoted Tauli-Corpuz’s denial calling the tag “baseless, malicious and irresponsible.”

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein even demanded that President Duterte submit himself to “some sort of psychiatric evaluation” adding that “This sort of comment really is unacceptable,” according to a Newsweek report.

al Hussein’s comments follow this week’s earlier sharp rebuke in his annual report and oral update before the UN Human Rights Council where he said, “I deplore President Duterte’s statement last week to elite police unites that they should not cooperate “when it comes to human rights, or whoever rapporteur it is” and continued vilification of this Council’s Special Rapporteur on extra-judicial killings by the authorities.”

Bukidnon Lumads file CHR complaint vs. PH army  

Members of a tribal group in Bukidnon have filed a complaint before the Commision on Human Rights Region 10 Office against soldiers from the Philippine Army’s 8th and 88th infantry batallions for alleged harassment against villagers in Musuan, Bukidnon.

Davao Today reports that members of the peasant group Buffalo-Tamaraw-Limus (BTL) have filed the complaint, describing the incident thusly: “soldiers from [8th and 88th infantry battalions] went to their village” and “acused them of being New People’s Army (NPA) supporters.” Ronilo Menente of BTL was also quoted in the report as saying, “They are asking for our leaders, their names and their whereabouts. We are worried for our safety.”

An Army spokesperson meanwhile urged the complainants to name the alleged violators, so that they can conduct their own investigation.

Must Read: IFEX explains the work of special rapporteurs and expert working groups

IFEX, a global network of dedicated to defending and promoting free expression, just released an explainer on the United Nations’ special procedures, a crucial part of the organization’s human rights machinery.

Included in these special procedures are operations of independent rapporteurs and expert working groups. IFEX says that “as of December 2017, there are 44 individual and expert groups’ thematic mandatesand 12 country-specific ones.”

The entire piece is a five-minute read, and while it bears a specific focus for free expression advocates, it’s still an easy read for anyone curious about what exactly the duties of special rapporteurs are.

Read the explainer here.

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