Philippines: Global solidarity with Filipino human rights defenders


We, the undersigned organisations, express our utmost concern over the ongoing criminalization of ten human rights defenders and members of Karapatan, GABRIELA and the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) in retaliation for their legitimate human rights work.

Elisa Tita Lubi, Karapatan Chairperson; Cristina Palabay, Karapatan Secretary General; Roneo Clamor, Karapatan Deputy Secretary General; Gabriela Krista Dalena, Karapatan Treasurer; Edita Burgos; Wilfredo Ruazol, and Jose Mari Callueng, Karapatan National Council members; Gertrudes Ranjo Libang, Gabriela Chairperson; Joan May Salvador, Gabriela Secretary General; and Sr. Elenita Belardo, RMP member, are facing trial before the Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 37 on malicious and trumped-up charge of “perjury” in retaliation for their actions seeking legal protection for human rights defenders. The week of January 2, 2023 the verdict will be handed down. If convicted, they could face up to four months or up to more than two years of imprisonment.

On May 6, 2019, due to the alarming increase in violence against human rights defenders in the Philippines, the above-mentioned human rights defenders from Karapatan, Gabriela, and the RMP filed a petition for the writ of amparo (protection order) and habeas data (access to information) before the Supreme Court, seeking protection against threats, attacks, and harassment by government officials. However, the Philippine Court of Appeals denied their petition in June 2019.

Following the rejection of the petition, the authorities responded with retaliatory measures against the 10 human rights defenders. On July 2, 2019, then-National Security Adviser General Hermogenes Esperon, who was named in the petition, lodged a complaint alleging that the 10 defendants had committed “perjury” by stating that the RMP was a registered non-governmental organisation at the Securities and Exchange Commission in the petition they filed before the Supreme Court. While the perjury complaint was initially dismissed for “lack of probable cause and/or insufficiency of evidence”, in February 2020, the Quezon City prosecutor sustained a motion for reconsideration filed by the National Security Adviser and found probable cause to charge the 10 human rights defenders with “perjury”. The charges against the 10 human rights defenders have been widely condemned by regional and global civil society organisations as well as the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders.

Since the “perjury” charges were filed, the Department of Justice has charged at least 16 people, including nuns, linked to the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines with financing terrorism under Section 8(ii) of Republic Act 10168 or anti-terrorism financing act.

In the Philippines, human rights defenders continue to face attacks, killings, judicial harassment, arbitrary detention and stigmatisation campaigns by State agents, proxies, supporters and enablers. Since June 2016, when President Duterte took power, a climate of impunity for attacks against human rights defenders worsened. The killings of defenders have rarely been investigated, which increases the vulnerability of those who remain active, while undermining the human rights community’s confidence in the justice system. In addition, the Anti-Terrorism Act, which was passed in July 2020, further compounded the precarious situation for human rights defenders by legally formalising the practice of “red-tagging” defenders with overly broad and vague definitions of terrorism. The grave human rights situation in the Philippines including the ongoing onslaught facing human rights defenders has resulted in expressions of grave concern from the Office of the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) in June 2020 and more recently a number of Members of the European Parliament. Similarly, in April 2020, 9 UN human rights experts expressed their concern regarding the killings, threats, detentions and criminalization of human rights defenders in the Philippines. Both the OHCHR and the UN human rights experts recommended establishing an international, independent investigation of human rights violations in the Philippines.

We call on the new President of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., to distance himself from the previous administration, and firmly commit to respecting the right to defend human rights. President Marcos Jr. should cease the threats and attacks against rights defenders and ensure the protection of their rights, including the rights to life, due process, freedom of expression, and freedom of peaceful assembly. We urge the authorities to put an immediate end to the judicial harassment against Elisa Tita Lubi, Cristina Palabay, Roneo Clamor, Gabriela Krista Dalena, Edita Burgos, Wilfredo Ruazol, Jose Mari Callueng, Gertrudes Ranjo Libang, Joan May Salvador, and Sr. Elenita Belardo. Similarly, we call on the authorities to rescind the Anti-Terrorism Act and adopt the Human Rights Defenders Protection Bill.

We are inspired by the work, courage and commitment of these human rights defenders, and stand in solidarity with all of them.


1. ACAT – GermanyAutomatic word wrap
2. Action Solidarité Tiers Monde (ASTM) – LuxembourgAutomatic word wrap
3. ALTSEAN – BurmaAutomatic word wrap
4. Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN) Automatic word wrap
5. Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)Automatic word wrap
6. Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD)Automatic word wrap
7. Associació Catalana per la Pau – Catalonia/SpainAutomatic word wrap
8. AWID – InternationalAutomatic word wrap
9. Banglar Manabadhikar Surakhsa Mancha (MASUM) – IndiaAutomatic word wrap
10. Business and Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC) – InternationalAutomatic word wrap
11. Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights – CanadaAutomatic word wrap
12. Capital Punishment Justice Project – AustraliaAutomatic word wrap
13. Centre for Philippine Concerns – CanadaAutomatic word wrap
14. Changement Social Bénin – BeninAutomatic word wrap
15. Comisión Mexicana de Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos (CMDPDH) – MexicoAutomatic word wrap
16. CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation – InternationalAutomatic word wrap
17. Environmental Defender Law Center – United StatesAutomatic word wrap
18. ESCR-Net – International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights – InternationalAutomatic word wrap
19. Federal Association of Vietnamese Refugees in the Federal Republic of GermanyAutomatic word wrap
20. Filipino Women’s Organization in Quebec (PINAY) – CanadaAutomatic word wrap
21. Front Line Defenders – InternationalAutomatic word wrap
22. Fundación Promoción Humana – ArgentinaAutomatic word wrap
23. Greek Helsinki Monitor – GreeceAutomatic word wrap
24. Human Rights Defenders Alert (HRDA) – IndiaAutomatic word wrap
25. Human Rights First – InternationalAutomatic word wrap
26. Human Rights Watch – InternationalAutomatic word wrap
27. IBON InternationalAutomatic word wrap
28. International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) – InternationalAutomatic word wrap
29. ICHRP CanadaAutomatic word wrap
30. International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), in the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights DefendersAutomatic word wrap
31. International League of People’s Struggle – CanadaAutomatic word wrap
32. International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) – InternationalAutomatic word wrap
33. Judicial Reform Foundation – TaiwanAutomatic word wrap
34. KAIROS CanadaAutomatic word wrap
35. La Voix des Sans Voix pour les Droits de l’Homme (VSV) – Democratic Republic of the CongoAutomatic word wrap
36. Lawyers’ Rights Watch CanadaAutomatic word wrap
37. Lok Shakti Abhiyan – IndiaAutomatic word wrap
38. London Mining Network – United KingdomAutomatic word wrap
39. Malaya Movement – CanadaAutomatic word wrap
40. Malaya Movement – United StatesAutomatic word wrap
41. Mesoamerican Initiative of Women Human Rights Defenders (IM-Defensoras)Automatic word wrap
42. Migrante – CanadaAutomatic word wrap
43. Narasha Community Development Group – KenyaAutomatic word wrap
44. National Autonomous Union of Public Administration Staff (SNAPAP) – AlgeriaAutomatic word wrap
45. National Fisheries Solidarity Movement – Sri Lanka Automatic word wrap
46. National Lawyers Guild San Francisco Bay Area Chapter – United StatesAutomatic word wrap
47. Netherlands Philippines Solidarity Movement – NetherlandsAutomatic word wrap
48. Odhikar – BangladeshAutomatic word wrap
49. ONG Construisons Ensemble le Monde – Democratic Republic of the CongoAutomatic word wrap
50. Project South – United StatesAutomatic word wrap
51. Public Service Alliance of Canada – Alliance de la Fonction publique du Canada – CanadaAutomatic word wrap
52. Rural People’s Sangam – IndiaAutomatic word wrap
53. Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network – InternationalAutomatic word wrap
54. SOHRAM-CASRA – TurkeyAutomatic word wrap
55. Synergie des femmes pour les victimes des violences sexuelles (SFVS) – Democratic Republic of the CongoAutomatic word wrap
56. Tapol – IndonesiaAutomatic word wrap
57. The Open University – United KingdomAutomatic word wrap
58. The Uplands Center – United StatesAutomatic word wrap
59. United Church of Canada – CanadaAutomatic word wrap
60. Universidad Nacional José Faustino Sánchez Carrión – Huacho – PeruAutomatic word wrap
61. Viva Salud – BelgiumAutomatic word wrap
62. Women of Diverse Origins – CanadaAutomatic word wrap
63. Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR) – InternationalAutomatic word wrap
64. Women Human Rights Defenders International CoalitionAutomatic word wrap
65. World Organisation Against Torture, in the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders


1. Bronwyn DudleyAutomatic word wrap
2. Emile Kinley-GauthierAutomatic word wrap
3. Florfina Marcelino

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