Greetings from Front Line – the International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders in Dublin.
We want to express our solidarity with the human rights defenders of the BLT women's organisation, BLT farmer's organisation, and AMIHAN that, for decades, have been protesting against forced eviction by Central Mindanao University
Human rights defender is a universally recognised concept which refers to individuals working peacefully to promote and protect rights under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Therefore, most people who are gathering here today are human rights defenders.
The recent attack on the peaceful protesters affiliated with BLT women's organisation and BLT farmer's organisation which resulted in the injuries of five human rights defenders is a serious matter that needs to be thoroughly addressed by the Philippines government.
The UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, which is a document outlining the right to defend human rights, was passed in 1998 by the UN General Assembly. The Philippines government is a member of the assembly. This, therefore, means that the Philippines government agrees to abide by the Declaration which highlights that for “the purpose of promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms, everyone has the right [to] meet and assembly peacefully”.
Therefore, we call on the authorities in the Philippines to carry out immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the violent dispersal of the protest staged by BTL and the use of force by the private guards employed by the Central Mindanao University and to bring those responsible in justice.
Front Line will continue to support the peaceful struggle of BLT human rights defenders and continue to monitor the development closely.
Front Line – the International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders
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