UN experts concerned about human rights defenders in The Philippines

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Christof Heyns

The Philippines is being urged to adopt measures to protect human rights defenders following an increase in killings and death threats over the past months.

The appeal comes from two UN independent experts—one on human rights defenders, the other on the issue of extrajudicial killings—in a statement released on Monday.

They say many of the incidents have been perpetrated by paramilitary groups, death squads and corporate security guards.

Dianne Penn reports.

The two experts are calling on the government of The Philippines to carry out prompt, impartial and independent investigations into the increase in threats and killings of human rights defenders.

UN Special Rapporteurs Margaret Sekaggya and Christof Heyns report that these numbers have risen significantly over recent months, particularly in Mindanao and Eastern Visayas.

They say several cases have been raised with the authorities, many of which concern people working on environmental issues such as land disputes and anti-mining campaigns.

Heyns and Sekaggya say they are also available to provide technical assistance to the Filipino authorities to ensure a safe working environment for human rights defenders there.

Duration: 44″

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