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Foul yan! UN human rights experts tells PH: Drop petition for ‘terrorist’ tag on Pinay rapporteur

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United Nations human rights experts have urged the government to drop the its petition accusing a Filipina special rapporteur of being a terrorist and being a member of the New People’s Army (NPA).

Michel Forst, the special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, and Catalina Devandas Aguilar, chairperson of the coordination committee of the special procedures, called the inclusion of UN Special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz in the petition filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) as an “unacceptable attack.”

“We are shocked that the Special Rapporteur is being targeted because of her work defending the rights of indigenous peoples,” they said in a statement Thursday (March 8).

“We call on the Philippine authorities to immediately drop these unfounded accusations against Ms. Tauli-Corpuz and to ensure her physical safety and that of others listed,” they added.

The UN experts believe the allegations against Tauli-Corpuz were made as “an act of retaliation” after she called out the Philippine government over the militarization, attacks and killings of indigenous Lumad peoples by members of the armed forces in Mindanao.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque had accused Tauli-Corpuz of trying to embarrass the Duterte administration by coming up with the report.

The UN experts reminded the government that UN experts have immunity from legal proceedings of every kind of spoken and written acts undertaken in the course of their mandated work.

“Ms. Tauli-Corpuz is a human rights defender,” they said. “Therefore, the Government of the Philippines has a duty under the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders to guarantee her right to promote and to strive for the realization of human rights.”

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