• Baguio City, Cordillera Administrative Region, Philippines

Cordillera Peoples Alliance appeals to the United Nations to end impunity in the Philippines

November 12, 2022

CPA Chairperson, Windel Bolinget, reiterated the intensified violations of indigenous peoples’ rights by the Philippine government and called for support from states during a side event for the ongoing United Nation’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of human rights records of governments in Geneva.

Since its first cycle in 2008, the UPR has made relevant and urgent recommendations to the Philippine government in addressing the human rights and indigenous peoples’ issues in the country. However, instead of a letup, rights violations are further intensified.

In the Cordillera alone, 96 energy projects have been awarded by the Department of Energy on top of 17 hydropower projects that are already in operation. In the mining front, amidst sustained resistance of indigenous communities, more than 50% of the region’s 1.8 million hectares land area remain covered by large-scale mining applications while 3 large-scale mining companies continue to operate. In many of these projects, our right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent is constantly violated.

Worse, new laws and policies were enacted and issued in complete disregard and a violation to the government’s international commitment on human rights, international humanitarian law, and indigenous peoples’ rights. These include Executive Order 70 that created the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict and the Anti-Terrorism Law, which further threaten the lives and resources of indigenous people.

At national level, from 2016-2021, human rights violations committed against indigenous peoples include 196 cases of extrajudicial killings, 160 frustrated extrajudicial killings, 227 illegal arrests and 478 illegal detention. Hundreds were subjected to trumped-up cases, torture, forced evacuation and red-tagging.

As the Philippine justice system is not robust and not working effectively resulting in continued state violations on human rights and international humanitarian law, we are bringing our issues to the United Nations and the international community with an appeal to help end impunity in the Philippines and for justice to be served to the victims.

For the ongoing UPR cycle, we call on States to visit the Philippines and examine the cases of Indigenous Peoples’ rights violations. An immediate, impartial, and independent inquiry on the human rights situation of Indigenous Peoples should be held, including an inquiry on the manipulation of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) of our right to Free Prior Informed Consent and the NCIP’s critical role in upholding the government's counter-insurgency program that criminalizes the exercise of Indigenous Peoples' rights.

We also demand that the Philippine government seriously uphold human rights and international humanitarian laws, revoke Executive Order No. 70, and repeal the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.