Rights advocates turn to social media for campaign vs killings in PH

Graphics by Luisa Sandoval

MANILA – “They tried to bury hundreds and thousands of us; they did not know that we were seeds.”

Human rights advocates, families and friends of victims of extrajudicial killings posted this sentence with their respective selfies on social media platforms since Monday, August 9, as part of the nine days #StopTheKillingsPH campaign.

The groups mark August as “a deadly month in the Philippines” under the administration of President Duterte. Among those killed were peasant leader and peace consultant Randall Echanis and human rights defender Zara Alvarez. Victims of drug-related killings 17-year-old Kian Delos Santos, Carl Angelo Arnaiz and Reynaldo “Kulot” de Guzman were also gunned down in the same month.

“In remembering Kian, Carl, Kulot, Ka Randy, and Zara, we remember the thousands of victims of extrajudicial killings,” a joint statement, signed by various groups and individuals, read.

Karapatan said the Stop the Killings Week of Action in the Philippines, which runs from Aug. 9 to 17, “is a national call for domestic and international actions of victims of rights violations and their relatives, human rights defenders, people’s organizations and movements to strengthen the call to stop the killings in the Philippines.

In particular, the groups called on the United Nations Human Rights Council to conduct an independent investigation on the rights situation in the Philippines and the International Criminal Court Pre-Trial Chamber to grant the Prosecutor’s request for an investigation in the drug war killings and violations.

The campaign was organized by Karapatan, Rise Up for Life and for Rights, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, EcuVoice Philippines, Concerned Artists of the Philippines, Sandugo – Movement of Moro and Indigenous Peoples for Self-Determination, Kalikasan, National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers and Kodao Productions.

This was also supported by the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines, CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, AWID, ESCR-Net, Front Line Defenders. (https://www.bulatlat.com)

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