Indigenous peoples groups seek DOJ help after being tagged as communists
Indigenous peoples (IP) organizations on Tuesday asked Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra to withdraw the petition that included indigenous peoples and human rights defenders among 600 persons with alleged links to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).
The IP groups made the appeal in a letter of concern submitted to the Department of Justice (DOJ), where they held a protest rally against alleged harassment and intimidation of indigenous peoples’ leaders and human rights defenders in the Philippines.
The government, in a petition before a court in Manila, cited over 600 people who are allegedly CPP or NPA officers, members and supporters.
Included on the list are 30 indigenous peoples who are members of IP groups and networks.
The signatories to the letter of concern came from the Katribu Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (Katribu), Philippine Taskforce for Indigenous Peoples Rights (TFIP) and the International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-determination (IPMSDL)
They said the government should “ensure the physical safety of indigenous peoples’ leaders and human rights defenders; and abide by State obligations to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, including access to justice, freedom of expression and of association.”
The letter of concern was endorsed by 16 international organizations as well as 205 national organizations from 38 countries around the globe.
Meanwhile, an online petition garnered more than 11,200 signatures from around 113 countries. — Daphnie Beltran/Inquirer.net Intern
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