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Philippines is deadliest country for farmers, IPs – report

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By Prince Golez

For the third year in a row, the Philippines remains the deadliest country for farmers, indigenous peoples, and land rights activists, according to PAN Asia Pacific’s (PANAP) 2019 Land and Rights Watch report.

PANAP said the country has a total of 50 Filipino land defenders killed in the context of land disputes from January to November 2019.

It was followed by Colombia (27), Brazil (9), and Honduras (4). Guatemala, India, Indonesia, and Mexico had 3 victims each while Cambodia, Congo, Costa Rica, Palestine, Peru, and South Africa each had at least one victim of land-related killings.

“Though (President Rodrigo) Duterte made plain during his presidential campaign his penchant for bluster and intimidation, these systematic assaults on people’s rights midway through his term exceed any expectations of what his administration would prove,” PANAP said.

“The likes of him embody a dangerous threat to the architecture of democracy and are poised to wreak greater havoc—particularly on the dignity and welfare of farmers and farmworkers, indigenous peoples, and land activists—lest the people leave no room for complacency in their fight for what is just and right,” it added.

The number of people arrested, detained and persecuted through trumped-up charges in the Philippines stood at 48, the yearend report stated. The country also accounted for the most number of displaced individuals due to land conflicts and struggles with 2,796.

PANAP also cited the illegal arrests of 54 activists and community leaders during simultaneous raids on the offices of progressive groups in Negros Island on October 31.

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