Probe killings of Ramos, sugar farmers, Duterte admin urged
Three government officials from Germany and Luxembourg are urging the Duterte administration to investigate the spate of killings of farmers and human rights advocates in the Philippines, including the deadly attack on lawyer Benjamin Ramos.
Barbel Kofler, Germany’s federal commissioner for human rights policy, condemned the killing of Ramos, who was shot dead on Nov. 6, a few weeks after representing the families of nine farmers who were shot dead by unidentified men on Oct. 20, at a sugarcane plantation in Negros Occidental.
“There is absolutely no excuse for simple farmers and the people who stand up for their rights having to fear for their lives,” Kofler said in a statement released by the European Union delegation in Makati City.
“No stone must be left unturned in the efforts to investigate these heinous murders and to bring the perpetrators to justice,” said Kofler, a member of Germany’s Social Democratic Party.
Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn and other Luxembourg socialists also called on the Philippine government to bring to justice those responsible for the killings.
“We call on the Philippine authorities to launch an independent and thorough investigation [of] the assassination of Benjamin Ramos and the murder of the nine farm workers,” Asselborn said.
Asselborn issued the statement jointly with Romain Schneider, the minister for development cooperation and humanitarian affairs.
Both are members of Luxembourg’s Socialist Workers’ Party.
“It is unacceptable that these women and men who have dedicated their lives to the defense of the rights of others, should themselves be the victims of criminalization, intimidation, violence and even murder and extrajudicial killings,” they said.
It is equally unacceptable, they added, that peasants and rural workers should suffer such violence while exercising their legitimate rights.
The Luxembourg officials said perpetrators and sponsors of these murders must be brought to justice “in order to put an end to the situation of impunity prevailing in the Philippines.”
They also urged the Duterte administration to resume cooperation with international human rights partners and to guarantee the safety of all human rights defenders.
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