Judicial system still fails to protect threatened activists

The rights group Karapatan together with women’s groups network Gabriela and the church-based CSO Rural Missionaries of the Philippines reached out to the Supreme Court on April 26, 2021, for the second time to grant their members protection due to the continuous threats they encounter. Since the safety situation for human rights workers and lawyers is worsening, they stress the particular urgency. Their original petition for writs of amaro and habeas data was refused in September 2019 by the Court of Appeals, and was then followed by trumped-up charges against some Karapatan officers and its member-organizations.

Also Zara Alvarez filed a petition in September 2019, but she was not granted protection. She was killed on August 17, 2020 in Bacolod City. Shortly afterwards in September 2020 Karapatan together with the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) made a plea in front of the Supreme Court. The renewed asking for a review of the Court of Appeals’ decision to protect rights activists is especially worrying, particularly in the light of Zara Alvarez’ murder, and is thus symbolic for the failing of the judicial system.

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