De Castro said it is unfortunate that the Philippines, a signatory to the said UN Declaration, has not yet enacted a domestic law for the protection of human rights defenders.
Struggle vs impunity
De Castro said their campaign is part of their continuing struggle against impunity. “There has been no credible conviction of perpetrators [of rights abuses].”
The Karapatan leader said that they have been urging foreign governments to continue exerting pressure on the Philippine government to address the killings.
Not mere numbers
De Castro underscored the need to give face to the victims. “For the government, it’s just a numbers game. Pero para sa mamamayan, isang nanay, isang tatay, isang anak ang nawawala sa bawat pamilya,” (But for the Filipino people [for every killing or disappearance] a mother, a father, or a sibling is taken from the family.) de Castro said.
She said that the positive thing that has come out of the deplorable condition of human rights in the country is the emergence of new human rights defenders from among the families of activists who were victimized.
These transformations can be seen in the families of missing activists Jonas Burgos, Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan and of slain human rights activist Benjaline Hernandez, said de Castro.
“For every one activist killed, the whole family is transformed into human rights defenders,” de Castro said.(Bulatlat.com)