News / 14 March 2018

Call for solidarity with Philippine human rights defenders

We are shocked and alarmed by the news that the Philippine government has declared a list of 600 people to be communist terrorists. On the list are mostly indigenous leaders, environmental activists and human rights defenders. Among them are some of our partners, and we are deeply worried about them and the other people on this list.

Human Rights Watch has identified the list as a 'virtual hit list', as the recent past in the Philippines shows that these lists provoke violence and even murder. On the list are well-known human rights defenders Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and a strategic partner of Both ENDS for a long time, and Joan Carling, member of the Advisory Board of our Global Alliance for Green and Gender Action (GAGGA) programme. We fear for their safety and for the safety of people on the list who work and live in remote areas in the Philippines, including 8 renowned indigenous leaders and human rights defenders from the Cordillera Region and 10 Lumad leaders, indigenous peoples' leaders and human rights advocates from Mindanao. While for years they have been massively impacted by military operations and widespread extrajudicial executions and ongoing attacks against voices who are critical of the current government, including human rights defenders and women rights defenders, the apparition of this list deepens their vulnerability to violence and discrimination.

Both ENDS, together with several of our partners, calls on the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation and the Dutch Ambassador in the Philippines to express their concern to the Philippine government and to urge for the immediate nullification of the list and work with other EU members states to effectively prevent further harm to civil society leaders.

We call upon everyone who values the work of our Philippine colleagues for human rights to spread this concern through social media, by signing the petition on and by sending letters of concern to the Philippine government.

For more information:

  • Our letter to the Minister and Ambassador (14 March 2018)
  • News on Reuters International (8 March 2018): Philippines seeks 'terrorist' tag for 600 alleged communist guerrillas
  • Reaction of the Office of the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights (8 March 2018): Accusations against UN expert a retaliation by Philippines, say fellow rapporteurs
  • Reaction of Human Rights Watch (8 March 2018): Philippines Terrorist Petition Virtual Hit List
  • Reaction of IUCN (10 March 2018): IUCN dismayed as Philippines seeks to declare UN Special Rapporteur a 'terrorist'

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