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1. Human rights violations continue to hound lumads

Thursday, June 30, 2016
Jigger J. Jerusalem
HUMAN rights violations are still committed against the tribal communities in Mindanao and the government
has not properly addressed this problem, a civil society group said Wednesday, June 29.
Discrimination, harassment, attacks, and even extrajudicial killings experienced by the lumad communities
throughout the island were among the issues raised during the public presentation of Duguong Kabilin
(Bloody Legacy) at a hotel here yesterday.
Duguong Kabilin is a collection of gruesome and traumatic experiences of the indigenous peoples in
Mindanao as they struggle to take back or retain ownership of their ancestral lands, said Sr. Famita Somogod, of
the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines in Northern Mindanao Region (RMP-NMR), and project manager of
the European Union-funded Healing the Hurt project.
Healing the Hurt is a collaboration of various organizations that seeks to face and find ways to resolve the
intensifying issue of marginalization and rights violations of lumad communities in the island.
As much as the tribal peoples in Mindanao want to improve their lives, their desire to uplift themselves and
their children have been disrupted by those whose agenda is to promote their self-interest, Somogod told this
paper in an interview at the sidelines of the event.
Among those existence and way of life are being constantly threatened by the entry of multinational
corporations in their ancestral lands are the Banwaon tribes in Agusan del Sur and the Matigsalug and Higaonon
peoples in Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental, Somogod said.
It is in these areas, she said, that violations of the lumads human rights are rampant.
These problems, she added, are the main issue that Healing the Hurt project is trying to address.
Unfortunately, these communities are the least prioritized by the government and even nongovernment
institutions, RMP-NMR noted in the latest issue of the groups Kidlap magazine.
Lawyer Czarina Golda Musni reported the partial data with regard to violations of the rights of the lumad.
Ninety cases were recorded by the Healing the Hurt project which include extrajudicial killings, frustrated
extrajudicial killing with threats and harassments, forced evacuation, illegal arrests and detentions,
indiscriminate firing, torture and divestment of property.
These cases were documented during the Aquino administration.
Dili na jud me pwede mu-uli sa amo kay kung mu-uli me sa among lugar kay hutdon me ug patay sa mga
Alamara. Mao ning hinungdan nga naa me sa Malaybalay nag-antus sa tumang kalisud. Thirty me ka pamilya
nga naa didto, one of the lumad evacuees from Cabanglasan said.
Based on his tribes experience, Datu Reynaldo Ayuma from Sitio Camansi, Barangay Banglay in Lagongong,
Misamis Oriental, said they had gone through hardships every time they flee from their homes for fear of their
lives who are threatened by the ongoing fighting between the New Peoples Army and the military.
Ayuma said they fled from their upland communities for four times in the last two years due to the armed
We had to go because we dont want to get killed whenever the rebels and soldiers shoot each other. To avoid
that, we had no choice but to evacuate, he said in a separate interview.
After a dialogue facilitated by the provincial government, the more than a hundred Higaonon men, women and
children returned home expecting the military will honor the agreement that soldiers will no longer be camping
out within their communities. (With LJ Patanao, BGUMPA/MSU-Marawi Interns)
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on June 30, 2016.

2. CDO village chief refuses to conduct Tokhang, says its human rights violation
by: Froilan Gallardo July 7, 2016 Category: Top Stories 0 Comments A+ / A-

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 7 July) At night, Barangay 23 here comes to life with motorcycles
going in and out its streets and alleyways in a never ending frenzy to get stash of illegal drugs.
The Barangay 23 Anti-Drug Council listed at least 15 names of shabu dealers plying their trade openly in their
They (shabu dealers) conduct their business openly in full view of other residents. That is how brazen they
have became, Frias told MindaNews.
During a drug bust operations, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency supported by Barangay 23 officials
seized P1.5 million worth of shabu last Dec. 3, 2015.
So it came as no surprise that the Cagayan de Oro City Police Office asked Barangay 23 officials of the list of
suspected drug dealers last week.
Frias, a former journalist who still writes occasional sports stories for news publications, said he and their
barangay council complied but told police officials they should not use the list to stage Oplan Tokhang
(toktok hangyo) in their village.
I am very firm on this. No tokhang in our barangay. It is a clear human rights violation, Frias said.
Frias said inviting or identifying the suspects without evidence or criminal case filed before the courts is a gross
violation of their rights.
Furthermore, Frias said the children of these alleged suspects will be traumatized learning that their parents are
under suspicion for selling illegal drugs.
What if all our information are not true? The damage will be irreparable. The children will bear the brunt of
shame, he said.
Frias said he asked the police to file the appropriate criminal charges against the suspects rather than subject
them to a shame campaign.
He also admonished the police to secure proper search warrants from the courts if they want to raid a house in
the village.
I am the first one to say let us arrest and deal harshly with the drug dealers but for Gods sake, let us do it
properly and according to the law. It should be done by the book, Frias said.
He said he does not mind if he will be sharply criticized for his actions.
Frias said the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has yet to issue an order requiring
barangay officials to conduct Tokhang in their villages.
Read more

3. Relentless war on crime

Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro
14 Jul 2016
ILOVE the Charles Bronson and Clint Eastwood movies Death Wish and Sudden Impact respectively since
they always end up with the assurance that justice was served to the victims.
From these movies, I deduced the idea that the law has failed in respect to putting away the guilty and so an
ordinary man faces great obstacles yet gets the justice he deserves.
Just like what happens in the movie so it also happens in real life especially in my country of birth where justice
is co-terminus with money and power. But the problem is when justice sought is between the poor victim and
the deprived accused.
All these matters in the scales of justice and is aggravated by a corrupt or insensitive judicial system. Its
complicated and hard as it might be for President Rodrigo Duterte to issue the order, it may be the only way to
get justice.
Dont get me wrong, I value due process, democracy, liberty and the Constitution. I understand all that.
I also understand why others commit crime not only because they are dulled by drugs that make them feel they
are tough. They commit crime because they see it as the only way to survive in a rat race society.
But I understand that it is a complicated time and it calls for a unconventional approach.
Henceforth, crime and criminal punishment are arguably the most important public policy questions in
contemporary Philippine politics following the marching orders of President Rodrigo Duterte to clean the streets
without red tape.
The order does not work well with the human rights advocates, Church, media and conservatives. It is
understandable that such orders might be mis-interpreted as a go signal for the law enforcement to be the judge
and executioner.
Issues on human rights violations and due process surfaced anew because of the presidential orders. Debates are
ongoing because hundreds and hundreds of drug users and pushers have surrendered to local officials and
promised to reform.
Those unlucky few who refused to surrender are now six feet below the ground and it appears that there are
quite a number of them. There are some perceptions emerging as to who is responsible for the violation of
human rights.
Hence there are killers on the loosethe public perception is it is the police and the law enforcement agencies
doing these killings since they are capable of doing it and they received the marching orders from President
There is also the perception that these killers are vigilantes who could not wait for the law enforcement agencies
to put away the guilty they want to take the matters in their own hands since they dont trust these law
enforcement agencies to do it.
There is also a perception that these killing machines are the big fishes in the pond that want to silence the small
fish from leaking information about their business.
There are a lot of theories these days but most people have formed their own opinions on the issue and are
actually betting on the results of the newest game in town, namely Oplan Tokhang.
But the fact is many people are happy with what is happening now because they may have been victims in the
past or have relatives who were victimized. They may also sympathize with victims of crimes.
Of course it is a given that because of the drug menace many lives were destroyed or their futures lost due to
bad choices.
Crimes against persons and property are escalating to record high levels because criminals commit them
without remorse. They were either high on drugs or they know that they can buy the police, the courts and the
Crime is a complex issue and its not just confined to human rights violations and due processit runs deeper
than that but foremost is that the Philippines has a broken judicial system.
Take for instance a simple robbery that took place in El Mundo in Barangay Natumolan in Tagoloan town a
month ago a robbery that remained unsolved. The person doing it went house-hopping and took cell phones,
kilos of rice, money and even an umbrella.
One of the victims was my niece Dorothy Naelga- Raagas. But what is sickening was that an old couple was
one of the victims and their savings were taken.
Trust me that the person responsible may be high on drugs because no one can carry out those burglaries with
such brazen abandon. We were robbery victims too three years ago in the same area.
Never mind that the robber who broke into our house three years ago was not caught. For discussion purposes,
lets assume that the person was caught and charges were filed in court.
How many days would the case sit at the police precinct and in the court before it is actually moved from
arraignment to trial?
That is why many crimes went unreported and in the meantime criminals are free and becoming bolder every
day. It is the new normal and many of them accept it as just part of normal society.
How many of these cases would result in a plea of guilty so that the sentence would be reduced on grounds of
poverty plus the plea sentence is reduced. A year after if the town is lucky enough the person is out and will
return to jail.
Cops, public defenders and public prosecutors are overloaded with cases and since theyre out there in the field,
its not unusual for cops to suffer from severe migraine from the many crimes committed out there.
I am all for due process and the rights of the accused but I face a dilemma here as I want a society to be safe and
for its people to enjoy their lives without fear because law enforcers are able to protect them.
The son of my sastre in Tagoloan town was killed a week ago. In fact, it was reported on this paper. I saw
Siony Uriartes Facebook post and I put the pieces together.
The other day I asked Siony if her son Tristan was involved in drugs. She said yes. But it saddened her how her
son was executed.
I did not ask her anymore I read it somewhere that gitiwansaubos human moambak ug naguba ang nawong.
Whatever that means. Also on Facebook, I read some comments about how Tristan lived days before his death.
He was always looking back and forth, suspicious of anyone and anything that followed him. He knew that it
was coming and it was also reported that he was asked to report to the police precinct as part of Oplan
Tokhang but he didnt do it.
Why he refused I have no idea. Was he distrustful? Did he know something big? I have no idea. Is that the
handiwork of the cops? I dont know. Is it done by the vigilantes then?
But still it behooves the Tagoloan police force or elsewhere to know who are responsible for the killings.
Going back to President Rodrigo Dutertes marching orders, he really means business when he told the police
that it is up to them to use their judgment in cracking down on drug lords, dealers and users.
The police is an integral part of the law enforcement system in the country. As the foot soldiers they are in the
frontline to enforce law and order. Every day out in the field they are supposed to be deterrent to crimes but
they also offer two choices to criminals; either to reform and be redeemed by society or face severe punishment.
A tall order in these difficult times and we can only pray for those who died in this war against crime. But I am
still waiting on police to snag the big criminal fishfish as big as an Alaskan salmon, not a Filipino tamban.
(Susan Palmes-Dennis is a veteran journalist from Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental, Northern Mindanao
in the Philippines and is now working s teacher assistant in one of the school systems in the Carolinas).

1. 3 suspected Abu Sayyaf men captured; reports of torture by soldiers surface
2 civilians allegedly mauled by soldiers; 15-year-old reportedly killed
By: Julie Alipala
Inquirer Mindanao
07:56 PM April 13th, 2016
Soldiers prepare to jump from an Army truck during operations. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO
ZAMBOANGA CITY Military forces captured three suspected Abu Sayyaf members during an operation in
Basilan, a military spokesperson said Wednesday.
But Major Filemon Tan Jr., spokesperson of the Western Mindanao Command, did not provide details of the
arrest, except that the three suspects were captured in Tipo-tipo town.
Major General Gerardo Barrientos, commander of the Armys 1st Infantry Division, said the report was still
hazy and what he knew was that the identities of the suspects were still being verified as of Wednesday.
These three ASG suspects were still being subjected to appropriate inquiry and the report was still hazy. We
leave that to the operational forces in Basilan to ascertain if they were indeed members of ASG, Barrientos
The report on the arrest of the three suspected bandits came in the wake of claims of some civilians and a
member of the Moro Islamic Liberation Fronts Joint Ceasefire Monitoring Force that they were arrested in the
course of the military operation, which came after the bloody clashes in Tipo-tipo that led to the killing of 18
The MILF man, Jong Aujal, said he went back to his home in Barangay Baguindan on Tuesday after having
been granted permission by village officials so he could get his familys belongings.
Aujal said that while he was gathering the things they left behind when they fled in haste, Marine soldiers
suddenly barged in and dragged him out of his house.
They took turns in kicking and hitting me until I could barely walk, he said.
A civilian, Hakim Maruan, a son of an overseas Filipino worker, is now in critical condition after he was beaten
black and blue by alleged soldiers when he returned to Baguindan to gather personal belongings. A 15-year old
boy, identified only as Ibno, was reportedly killed.
Members of the International Monitoring Team, who have been securing Aujal and Maruan at a hospital
declined to issue any comment.
Tan denied knowledge of any manhandling of suspects by soldiers in Basilan.
As this developed, Tan said more troops were sent to Basilan.
Barrientos said no soldier had been missing following Saturdays bloody clash that also left 58 soldiers
We have totally accounted for all of our forces, he said. SFM

2. KMU slams AFP over murder of activist-farmers sister, rights violations in ComVal
By: Frinston L. Lim
Inquirer Mindanao

08:38 AM February 11th, 2016

TAGUM CITY, Davao del Norte The militant Kilusang Mayo Uno in Southern Mindanao region slammed
the military on Wednesday, for the spate of killings and human rights violations in Compostela Valley,
including Tuesdaysmurder of a sister of an activist-farmer there.
The military has not commented on allegations that suspected security forces were behind the killing of Jennifer
Villasante Erbito in Compostela town.
However, it said the KMU had no basis to accuse soldiers of attacking civilian communities in Pantukan and
Mabini towns and killing a miner in the process.
The 43-year-old Erbito was tending her banana cue stall at Purok 12 in Barangay Poblacion when shot by a man
around 11:30 a.m., the police said.
Chief Insp. Kristopher Sabsal, Compostela police station chief, said cops have started investigating the killing.
He has also confirmed Erbitos sister is a member of the militant Compostela Farmers Association (CFA).
Amado Albaciente, Erbitos common-law husband said his live-in partner had no known enemies. He added
she was a coordinator for the governments conditional cash transfer (CCT) program in their community and as
far as he knew, she did not encounter any problem in that work.
We condemn the latest killings attributed to this blood-thirsty US-Aquino regime that kills at will and with
impunity in the name of big corporate mining and agricultural interests, said KMU chair Carlo Olalo, adding
that Erbitos killing came just days after the murder of an anti-mining activist and community leader Teresita
Navacilla in Pantukan town.
Rights group Karapatan has accused the military of killing Navacilla to silence her strong opposition to the
entry of the Filipino-Canadian mining firm, Nadecor-St. Augustine, in Kingking village, Pantukan, but the
mining firm denied the allegations, calling these baseless and mere fabrication.
Navacilla was an effectual liaison between the (firm) and the small-scale miners and was a recipient of various
corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects of the company, the mining firm said in a statement.
But Olalo said: Compostela Valley is a resource-rich province targeted for plunder by foreign corporations in
connivance with local capitalists, landlords and politicians. As a result, the province is marred by heavy military
presence creating a climate oppressive to peoples democratic rights, including their right to organize and form
unions and associations. Military repression of workers rights in Compostela Valley is not new and sadly, has
not stopped.
Hanimay Suazo, spokesperson of Karapatan-Southern Mindanao, said soldiers from the Philippine Armys 46th
and 71st Infantry Battalions also conducted indiscriminate firing and bombings in mining and civilian
communities in Mabini and Pantukan towns also on Tuesday, resulting in the death of a small-scale miner and
the wounding of several civilians.
Suazo said soldiers also fired rifle grenades toward civilian communities in Post 4, Napnapan village, Pantukan
town, damaging a house and a chapel, and soldiers allegedly ordered a stop to the mining operations.
But the military on Wednesday said an encounter had ensued between Army troops and New Peoples Army
rebels in Pantukan, resulting in the death of an alleged rebel identified as Ronel Paas alias Dondon, 35; and the
wounding of several others, among them a 14-year old identified as Dong.
Capt. Rhyan Batchar, public affairs chief of the armys 10th Infantry Division, said Corporal Boskie Carcellar
was also wounded following an encounter at Tagdangua village.
The soldiers were running after a group of rebels led by alias Raden, who were responsible for the series of
atrocities in Pantukan when the troops chanced upon some 20 rebels, triggering a 20-minute firefight, said
An assault rifle believed to be left behind by the fleeing rebels was recovered at the encounter site, the military
official said.
He said some of the rebels who fled in the thick of battle sought refuge inside the mining pits and were pursued
by soldiers but the government troops could not catch up with the insurgents as the tunnels were extensive and
Last week, three soldiers, including a young lieutenant, were killed in two clashes between rebels and the 46th
IB troops in Pantukan. Two soldiers were also hurt.
Batchar said the Army has been coordinating with the Commission on Human Rights and the Department of
Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to look into the case of alias Dong, who can be considered as a
child-warrior. SFM

3. PNPs Rock against vigilante-style killings

By: Jaymee T. Gamil
Philippine Daily Inquirer

01:42 PM June 16th, 2016

Incoming Philippine National Police Chief Ronald De La Rosa . (RADYO INQUIRER FILE PHOTO)
MANILA He may talk tough about crushing crime but the incoming national police chief says he is not for
In a press briefing on Tuesday, Chief Supt. Ronald Bato De la Rosa, who has been appointed by President-
elect Rodrigo Duterte as the next Philippine National Police director general, made clear his position against
vigilantes when asked to react to the the human rights commissions disapproval of bounties for criminals.
De la Rosa indicated he understood the concerns of the Commission on Human Rights and pledged his
leadership would make sure that the bounty system would not be abused and corrupted by managing the anti-
crime campaign properly.
If what theyre afraid of is that [the bounty system] will get abused, if theyre afraid that it will cause massive
vigilantism throughout the country, all the more we [the police] are afraid of that. We, the police, are really
against that, because [we] are maintaining peace and order. If the situation gets that disorderly, its all for
nothing. The police will be useless, De la Rosa pointed out, in Filipino, speaking to the media at the Philippine
National Police headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon city.
If thats their apprehension, its the same with us. We dont want that. It needs to be managed properly so it
wont get that bad, the De la Rosa said.
Last month, controversy over the bounty system broke out when the Cebu city mayor offered monetary rewards
to law enforcers or civilians who could kill or injure criminals. The Commission on Human Rights in Central
Visayas expressed alarm over the pronouncement, fearing it might trigger human rights abuses and extrajudicial
No less than Duterte, who handpicked De la Rosa as the next PNP chief, have also announced bounties for the
capture and even killing of drug lords.
Although apparently sharing the human rights commissions apprehension on vigilantism, De la Rosa was quick
to defend Dutertes bounty offer as pronouncement lang naman [just a pronouncement].
If [the CHR] took note of thatI hope they just take note instead of the pronouncement of those demonic drug
lords of a P1 billion [bounty] on [our] heads. I wish theyd go instead to the [New Bilibid Prison] and scare
them with human rights cases, De la Rosa said.
All the Mayor [Duterte] is after is what is good for all. Whatever happens, all he really wants is just for us to
succeed in our anti-drugs and anti-criminality campaign. Meanwhile, those drug lords who are in jail, their only
objective is selfish: to get rich and to destroy our country. So whom should you favor? Those drug lords or this
incoming President who just wants the problem to end? De la Rosa said.
When that scourge is gone, all of us will benefit. So lets all cooperate, De la Rosa said.
De la Rosa, however, reminded his future subordinates that they should go after criminals with or without the
money [rewards]. SFM/rga

4. CHR laments surge in cases of extrajudicial killings, abuses

By: Maila Ager

01:46 PM October 9th, 2015

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) expressed concern on Friday over the sharp increase in cases of
enforced disappearance, extrajudicial killings, torture and arbitrary arrests in the country.
Bumababa ang incidence of human rights violations kumpara nang panahong martial law or early years since
martial law pero ang medyo mas malungkot, nagpapatuloy pa rin yung mga cases of forced disappearance,
extrajudicial killings, torture and arbitrary arrests na hindi dapat nangyayari sa isang lipunang demokratiko at
malaya, CHR Chairperson Jose Luis Martin Gascon said in an interview with reporters after attending the
hearing of the Senate finance subcommittee.
(The incidence of human rights violations has gone down compared with those during the martial law or the
early years since the martial law, but its saddening that cases of forced disappearance, extrajudicial killings,
torture and arbitrary arrests continue to happen in this supposedly free and democratic society.)
So thats why the Commission on Human Rights is really asking for more support so that we might be able to
address these cases, Gascon said.
He pointed out a recent case in Central Luzon where a juvenile who was under detention was later found dead.
These things should not be the norm, the CHR chief said, So while the overall cases have dwindled, the fact
that there are sharp increases in enforced disappearance, extrajudicial killings and torture [are] a matter of
Gascon could not immediately provide, however, the number of cases recorded by the CHR but said it has a
database system on such incidents.
Pero ang matingkad since 2005 onwards, e nag-increase overall although this year, sa usapin ng enforced
disappearance, zero, he further said.
(Its clear that from 2005, onwards, the cases have increased overall, but this year, zero enforced disappearance
has been reported.)
During the hearing on the proposed budget of the CHR, Gascon also told the committee that new reports of
extrajudicial killings are recorded almost on a weekly basis. IDL

5. Execution of 4 rape-slay suspects in Lanao Sur ordered probed by ARMM governor

By: Nash Maulana
Inquirer Mindanao

05:00 PM September 3rd, 2015

COTABATO CITY, Philippines The story of the four men reportedly executed by firing squad last month in
Lanao del Sur is far from over yet.
Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has ordered the Regional
Commission on Human Rights (RCHR) to investigate the reported execution of the four, all suspects in the
rape, killing and burning of a 14-year-old girl in Barangay Basak, Marawi City on August 14.
The girl was alone at the time of the attack as her family went to a mosque for the Friday prayer.
The suspects, Salman Udag Sambitory, Jabbar Rikta Macacua, Elias Kamote Pimping and Jalil Alilit Sani, were
briefly taken into police custody but had to be released after relatives of the girl refused to file charges against
They were eventually executed by firing squad, according to reports earlier reaching Hataman.
Among those who confirmed the reported execution was ARMM Vice Gov. Haroun Al-Rashid Lucman Jr.
Lucman said based on his investigation, the execution was a mutual agreement reached by the families of the
victims and the suspects.
Lawyer Rasol Mitmug, Hatamans chief of staff, said a team of investigators from the RCHR were sent to
Marawi to conduct a probe.
He said this early, members of the team have received text messages telling them to halt the investigation.
Mitmug said even Hataman has received a similar text message but the governors response has been to
continue with the investigation.
ARMM Interior and Local Governments Secretary Anwar Malang, a former human rights lawyer, said in any
case, a probe could not depend solely on testimonial evidence; it had to be supported by a corpus delicti (corpse
Until bodies are found, there could be no air-tight conclusion that the execution took place, according to
That would entail a long process, and needs the intervention of forensic experts and modern laboratory
facilities, Malang said. Nash Maulana, Inquirer Mindanao


1. Timor Leste Civil Society Workshop on ASEAN and its Human Rights Mechanism
29 October 2015 1:53 pm
On 26-27 October 2015 FORUM-ASIA and the South East Asian Committee for Advocacy (SEACA), as the
convenors of SAPA Working Group on ASEAN, in collaboration with the Forum ONG Timor Leste
(FONGTIL), the HAK Foundation and the Judicial System Monitoring Programme (JSMP) organised a national
workshop to help increase the understanding among civil society organisations (CSOs) and local communities
in Timor Leste of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its human rights mechanism.
As a country with a vibrant civil society, Timor Lestes accession to ASEAN will likely bring new energy and
dynamics to the institution. However, to be able to do so, the national consultation process emphasized the
importance of preparations from both the Government and CSOs before the country will become the 11th
member of ASEAN.
The consultation was attended by Roberto Sarmento de Oliveira Soares, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and
Cooperation of Timor Leste, who updated the participants on the state of the preparations by Timor Leste.
While Horacio Boa Vidad de Almeida, the Deputy of the Commissioner of the Ombudsman/Human Rights
Commission of Timor Leste also participated in the event.
The consultation expressed the hope, on behalf of civil society, that Timor Lestes membership of the regional
institution will strengthen ASEANs efforts to promote and protect human rights, while also making the
upcoming ASEAN Community more people oriented

2. Thailand: Activists, Journalist Arrested for Vote-No Campaign

Submitted by admin on Wed, 2016-07-13 16:39

July 12, 2016 8:56PM EDT
Junta Further Restricts Criticism of Draft Constitution
(New York) Thai authorities arrested four activists campaigning against the military juntas draft constitution
and a journalist reporting on the campaign, Human Rights Watch said today. A referendum on the proposed
constitution is scheduled for August 7, 2016.
On July 10 in Ban Pong district, Ratchaburi province, police arrested three activists from the New Democracy
Movement (NDM) Pakorn Areekul, Anucha Rungmorakot, and Anan Loked for violating the Referendum
Act after finding NDM booklets criticizing the draft constitution in their car. The police also arrested Taweesak
Kerdpoka, a journalist with the Prachatai online news agency, while he was traveling with the activists. Later
that day, police arrested another pro-democracy activist, Panuwat Songsawatchai, on the same charge after
accusing him of helping to deliver NDM booklets in the district.
Arresting peaceful activists is bad enough, but jailing a journalist for reporting on the vote-no campaign is a
serious blow to press freedom in Thailand and any hopes that the vote on the constitution will be a fair one,
said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. With each day the Thai junta is undermining the
legitimacy of its own referendum.
The authorities should immediately release and drop all charges against the activists and journalist, Human
Rights Watch said.
The ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) junta, chaired by Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-
ocha, has imposed conditions for the constitutional referendum that have increasingly hindered open public
discussion, Human Rights Watch said. Article 61 of the 2016 Referendum Act, which governs the referendum
process, criminalizes anyone who disseminates text, pictures or sounds that are inconsistent with the truth or in
a violent, aggressive, rude, inciting or threatening manner aimed at preventing a voter from casting a ballot or
vote in any direction or to not vote. Violators face imprisonment up to 10 years, fines up to 200,000 baht
(US$5,600), and loss of voting rights for 10 years.
With each day the Thai junta is undermining the legitimacy of its own referendum.

Brad Adams

Asia Director
The junta has disregarded international human rights law protections that ensure the rights to express their
views on the draft constitution and to vote freely, Human Rights Watch said. Both the NCPO and the junta-
appointed Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) have broadly and arbitrarily interpreted criticisms and
dissenting opinions about the draft constitution to be false information and a threat to national security. As a
result, the only sources of information about the draft constitution for many voters come from the junta-
appointed Constitution Drafting Commission, the military, the Election Commission and other government
agencies all of which have taken the position that the proposed constitution would benefit the Thai people.
On April 19, General Prayut said that opponents of the draft constitution have no rights to say that they
disagree I dont allow anyone to debate or hold a press conference about the draft constitution. Yet they still
disobey my orders. They will be arrested and jailed for 10 years. No one will be exempted, not even the media.
On April 18, the authorities arrested Watana Muangsook, a prominent Pheu Thai party member and former
government minister, for posting commentary on his Facebook page that he would reject the draft constitution.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon raised concerns during a telephone conversation with General
Prayut on June 20 about the stepped-up repression ahead of the constitutional referendum. But on that same
day, Thai authorities charged 19 leaders of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) with
violating the juntas ban on public gatherings of more than five people for opening a referendum monitoring
center in Bangkok. On June 23 in Bang Pli district, Samut Prakarn province, soldiers arrested 14 activists who
were handing out leaflets urging voters to reject the draft constitution.
Both the United Nations and Thailands international friends should press hard for General Prayut to
immediately end the arbitrary arrest of critics and dissenters, and drop criminal charges against all those who
peacefully express their political opinions, Adams said. The junta cant expect the Thai people to just shut up
and vote on the draft constitution without any debate.

3. Eight Vietnamese Activists Brutally Beaten by Nghe An Police

Submitted by admin on Wed, 2016-07-13 16:39
By Vu Quoc Ngu, July 9, 2016
On July 9, police forces in Vietnams central province of Nghe An allegedly assaulted a group of eight activists
from Quang Binh when they came to the province to attend a wedding party of a local pro-democracy activist.
Arriving in Nghe An for the wedding party of Nguyen Hai, the group consisting of five male and three female
activists led by Nguyen Trung Truc and Mai Van Tam were kidnapped, beaten and robbed by plainclothes
agents. Hai and the attacked activists are member of the pro-democracy group Brotherhood of Democracy
which was established by human rights lawyer Nguyen Van Dai who was arrested on December 16 last year.
The attackers detained the visiting activists, taking all their wallets, cell phones and documents and beating
them. They took off their clothes and left them in a remote area between Nghe An and the neighbor province Ha
Eight activists suffered from severe injuries and were taken by local Catholic parishioners to a hospital for
urgent treatment.
Meanwhile, former prisoner of conscience Nguyen Viet Dung, founder and president of the unsanctioned
Republican Party of Vietnam, was deported by police in Ho Chi Minh City to his home town of Nghe An. The
city police detained him, beating him and later taking him to the Tan Son Nhat International Airport where they
forced him to take a domestic flight to Vinh, where local police officers awaited and detain him to a car where
they beat and interrogated Dung. They threatened to be tougher against him next time.
Last month, police in HCMC also detained Dung, beating and interrogating him before deporting him to Nghe
An. In Nghe An, Dung was also held by local police officers who interrogated and tortured him, and released
him several days later.
Vietnams security forces have intensified their persecution against local political dissidents, social activists and
human rights defenders amid increasing social dissatisfaction with the governments response to the
environmental disaster in the central coastal region, worsening human rights situation and the governments
weak response to Chinas violations of the countrys sovereignty in the East Sea (South China Sea).
On July 7, police in the central coastal province of Quang Binh used tear gas to suppress a demonstration of
around 2,000 Catholic followers in Con Se parish, injuring many people. Some protestors also fought back by
throwing stones and bricks at the police. The demonstrators demanded the Taiwanese Formosa Plastic Group to
remove its Hung Nghiep Formosa steel plant in the central province of Ha Tinh after it admitted discharging
huge volume of toxic waste into Vietnams sea water and caused the massive death of marine species in the
250-km coastline from Ha Tinh to Thua Thien-Hue.
Vietnamese activists and environmentalists have disagreed with the governments settlement of the
environmental disaster caused by Formosa in the central coastal region, saying the $500 million compensation
from Formosa is not enough for environment cleaning and supporting the affected people, including fishermen,
salt farmers and tourism-related businesses in the region.
Recently, Vietnams Minister of Public Security Senior Lieutenant General To Lam, who is also Politburo
member of the ruling communist party, threatens to use tougher measures to prevent spontaneous
demonstrations. However, Vietnamese activists in many localities have conducted peaceful demonstrations to
demand permanent suspension of the Ha Tinh province-based Formosa steel plant and request the Taiwanese
company to clean the marine environment in the central region and fully compensate the affected people.

4. Nearly Hundreds of Vietnamese Environmentalists Detained during Sunday Peaceful

Demonstrations, Many Severely Beaten
Submitted by admin on Tue, 2016-06-07 14:56
By Vu Quoc Ngu, June 5, 2016
Vietnams security forces in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Danang and other localities on Sunday [June 5]
arrested nearly one hundred of environmental activists during peaceful demonstrations which aimed to demand
the government to be transparent in a serious environmental disaster in the central coastal region which has
killed hundreds of tons of marine species since April 6.
A number of activists were severely beaten by police officers during the detentions and in polices custody.
Among victims of the police abuse are Pham Nam Hai in Hanoi, Nguyen Van Thanh in the central province of
Danang, and Nguyen Van Do and facebooker Huy Truong Le in Saigon. The tortured activists said they
suffered from serious injuries on their bodies.
Hanois authorities arrested around 70 activists and released all detainees on afternoon while the police in
HCMC still hold many activists, including Mr. Luu Van Vinh, Ms. Tran Thi Nguyet, Mr. Truong Huy Le, and
Mr. Khanh Le Hoang in the social rehabilitation facility No. 463 in No Trang Long street which is used for
holding sex workers, criminals and drug addicts, for interrogation. In this facility in mid-May, the police in the
city held hundreds of activists for several days and many detainees said they were beaten by electrical batons
during questioning.
Many activists in Hanoi and HCMC said they have been de facto under house arrest during weekends as local
authorities deploy many police officers to patrol near their private residences, not allowing them to go out.
Authorities in major cities have tightened control and arrested all political dissidents, social activists and human
rights when they appear in public places in cities centers on Sunday after environmental groups called for
nationwide demonstrations during the weekend to demand the government to release the results of investigation
on the massive death of millions of fish in the four central province of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and
Thua Thien-Hue. Two months after the environmental catastrophe, Vietnams government has yet to publicize
the results although the investigation was completed.
Many believe that the fish en-mass death in the central coastal region as water was polluted with heavy
chemicals which came from improperly-treated waste discharged by the Taiwanese Formosa Plastic Group
which has a $10 billion steel project in Ha Tinh province. The Taiwanese company admitted to imported 300
tons of very toxic chemicals such as CYC-VPrefilm900, CYC-Vprefilm400, CYC-Vclosetrol360, and CYC-
VMA 796 for cleaning their machineries in the project and discharge waste into the sea through a meter-wide
and kilometer-long tunnel about 15 meters below the sea surface.
Many Vietnamese have angered as the government has no urgent actions to cope with the disaster in the central
coast as well as refused to announce the real causes of the incident. Since May 1, thousands of Vietnamese
activists have rallied across the nation to protest Formosa and the slow reactions of the government.
Instead of warning people about serious contamination of sea water in the central coast, local authorities have
launched campaign to encourage people to buy seafood harvested by the local fishermen, and come to the local
beaches. A number of divers were reported to die in water near the place where Formosa discharges waste and
many people died and suffered seriously from consuming seafood from the affected areas.
In May, police violently suppressed many peaceful environmental demonstrations, detaining and torturing many
The Office of UN High Commission for Human Rights and many international human rights organizations have
condemned Vietnams recent suppression against local activists, calling on the communist government respect
its Constitutions and its international obligations on human rights.
Vietnam has prioritized high growth rate of the countrys gross domestic products (GDP) and encouraged
foreign investors to set up industrial projects nationwide without paying special attention to environmental
consequences, said experts.
The contamination of sea water in Vietnams central coast may affect the regions economy for decades,
especially in local fisheries, tourism, fish sauce and salt production. The livelihood of tens of millions of local
residents is threatened, experts said

5. Laos: Three government critics arbitrarily arrested, detained incommunicado

Submitted by admin on Tue, 2016-06-07 13:17
FIDH - International Federation for Human Rights and its member organization for Laos Lao
Movement for Human Rights (LMHR)
Joint press release
Paris, 6 June 2016: Lao authorities must immediately and unconditionally release three individuals who have
been arbitrarily arrested and detained incommunicado for criticizing the government, FIDH and its member
organization Lao Movement for Human Rights (LMHR) said today.
The governments systematic repression of all forms of peaceful dissent underscores the immense gap between
Vientianes promises to the international community and its abusive behavior at home. Its time for foreign
governments and donors to raise their voices about human rights violations in Laos and demand Vientiane
change its ways, said FIDH President Karim Lahidji.
Ms. Lodkham Thammavong, 30, and Messrs. Somphone Phimmasone, 29, and Soukan Chaithad, 32, were
arrested in March 2016 after returning to Laos from Thailand on 18 February 2016. The three had returned to
apply for passports in order to re-enter Thailand and obtain the necessary documents to work legally.
On 5 March 2016, police arrested Lodkham and Somphone, who worked in Bangkok as a domestic worker and
a security guard respectively, at Lodkham's family home in Ban Vang Tay Village, Nong Bok District,
Khammuan Province. The two were initially held at the Khammuan provincial prison in Tha Khaek town. In
early May 2016, they were both transferred to an unknown prison in Vientiane. It is believed Soukan, who
worked in Bangkok as a delivery driver, was arrested on 22 March 2016 at the Ministry of Public Security head
office (Ko Po So) in Savannakhet City, where he went to apply for a passport.
On 25 May 2016, state-run TV showed Lodkham, Somphone, and Soukan in custody at police headquarters in
Vientiane. The news report said the three had been arrested for threatening national security by using social
media to tarnish the governments reputation. The date on which the video of Somphone, Lodkham, and Soukan
was taken is not known and the fate or whereabouts of the three remain unknown.
The arrest of Lodkham, Somphone, and Soukan was due to their repeated criticism of the Lao government
while they were working in Thailand. The three had posted numerous messages on Facebook that criticized the
government in relation to alleged corruption, deforestation, and human rights violations. On 2 December 2015,
Lodkham, Somphone, and Soukan were among a group of about 30 people who protested against their
government in front of the Lao embassy in Bangkok.
It is extremely troubling that Lodkham, Somphone, and Soukan are likely to face years of imprisonment in
Laos terrifying jails because they told the truth about the appalling human rights situation and the lack of good
governance in the country. Authorities must disclose their fate or whereabouts and immediately and
unconditionally release them, said LMHR President Vanida Thephsouvanh.
Arbitrary detention of peaceful dissidents is not a new phenomenon in Laos recent past. On 26 October 1999,
police in Vientiane arrested five members of the Lao Students Movement for Democracy (LSMD),
Thongpaseuth Keuakoun, Sengaloun Phengphanh, Bouavanh Chanhmanivong, Khamphouvieng Sisa-at, and
Keochay, for planning peaceful demonstrations that called for democracy, social justice, and respect for human
rights. All five were sentenced to 20 years in prison for generating social turmoil and endangering national
security. Two of them, Thongpaseuth and Sengaloun, remain in solitary confinement in Vientianes Samkhe
prison. Khamphouvieng died in Samkhe prison from food deprivation and prolonged heat exposure in
September 2001. To this day, the fate or whereabouts of Bouavanh and Keochay remain unknown despite the
Lao governments claim that authorities released Keochay upon completion of his prison term in 2002 and
transferred him to guardians to further educate him to become a good citizen.
Also unknown are the fate or whereabouts of nine other activists - two women, Kingkeo and Somchit, and
seven men, Soubinh, Souane, Sinpasong, Khamsone, Nou, Somkhit, and Sourigna - who were detained in
November 2009 for planning to participate in pro-democracy demonstrations in Vientiane.
Many of the above-referenced cases amount to enforced disappearance. Article 2 of the International
Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICPPED) defines enforced
disappearance as the arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the
State or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the State,
followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of
the disappeared person. Despite signing the ICPPED on 29 September 2008, Laos has not yet ratified the
FIDH and LMHR reiterate their call for the Lao government to conduct swift, thorough, and impartial
investigations into all cases of enforced disappearances in the country and hold those responsible accountable.
The two organizations also urge the Lao government to speed up the investigation into the enforced
disappearance of prominent civil society leader Sombath Somphone, who was last seen at a police checkpoint
on a busy street of Vientiane on the evening of 15 December 2012.
On 23 June 2015, during its second Universal Periodic Review (UPR), Laos rejected all eight recommendations
that called for investigations into all allegations of enforced disappearance in the country and dismissed such
allegations as not true. The government acknowledged Sombaths disappearance, but accepted only four of
the 10 recommendations that called for an investigation into his disappearance.

Press contacts
Mr. Andrea Giorgetta (English) - Tel: +66886117722 (Bangkok)
Mr. Arthur Manet (French, English, Spanish) - Tel: +33672284294 (Paris)


1. Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism


In June 2015, the Human Rights Council appointed Ms. Ikponwosa Ero as the first Independent Expert on the
enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism.

For more information on the mandate, please click here.


New Special Rapporteur Ikponwosa IK EroAlbinism is a rare, non-contagious, genetically inherited condition
which occurs worldwide regardless of ethnicity or gender. It most commonly results in the lack of melanin
pigment in the hair, skin and eyes (oculocutaneous albinism), causing vulnerability to sun exposure. Albinism is
still profoundly misunderstood, socially and medically. The physical appearance of persons with albinism is
often the object of erroneous beliefs and myths influenced by superstition, which foster their marginalization
and social exclusion.

Persons with albinism are a unique group whose human rights issues have generally gone unnoticed for
centuries; the result being deeply engraved stigma, discrimination and violence against them across various
countries. The complexity and uniqueness of the condition means that their experiences significantly and
simultaneously touch on several human rights issues including, but not limited to, discrimination based on
colour, discrimination based on disability, special needs in terms of access to education and enjoyment of the
highest standards of health, harmful traditional practices, violence including killings and ritual attacks, trade and
trafficking of body parts for witchcraft purposes, infanticide and abandonment of children.

In creating the mandate, the Human Rights Council reaffirmed that everyone has the right to life, liberty and
security of person and that no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or
punishment. It also recalled the universality, indivisibility, interdependence and interrelatedness of all human
rights and fundamental freedoms and the need for persons with albinism to be guaranteed the full enjoyment of
their rights and freedoms without discrimination.

2. Zeid hails end of death penalty in Mongolia

GENEVA (9 December 2015) UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad Al Hussein on
Wednesday hailed the end of the death penalty in Mongolia as a welcome step in the fight for the human rights
of all.
Last week, Mongolia became the 105th country to abolish the death penalty in law. Another 60 states have
moratoria, or have not carried out executions in the last 10 years.
This development is very encouraging and a clear example of positive progress in the fight for human rights
for all including people convicted of terrible crimes. We must not allow even the most atrocious acts to strip
us of our fundamental humanity. Mongolias passage of this law, which is the result of strong and sustained
leadership on this issue, has reaffirmed this essential truth, the High Commissioner said.