UN defends green, IP activists on ‘terror list’
No less than a UN agency has taken the cudgels for Filipino environment and indigenous peoples’ (IPs) activists named in the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) court petition to declare the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), terrorist groups.
In a statement posted on the agency’s website on Thursday, the United Nations Environment Programme called on the Philippine government to drop the accusations against UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, and former UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues member Joan Carling, who were tagged along with more than 600 people as members of the CPP-NPA in the DOJ’s court petition, effectively accusing them of being terrorists.
“These charges must be dropped immediately, and support provided for the legitimate activities of these individuals who have UN mandates, and the civil society organizations with which they work,” UN Environment Programme head Erik Solheim said in the statement.
This year, London-based international watchdog Global Witness, in its annual report on the state of environmental defenders globally, tagged the Philippines as the second deadliest country in the world for environmental and land defenders with 41 environment-related killings in 2017 alone.
In a statement, environmental activist group Kalikasan Philippine Network for the
Environment (Kalikasan PNE) said that of the 159 environment-related killings the group had monitored in the country since 2001, 96 were attributed to the military.
“We fear this terror-listing might be aimed at systematically dismantling the strongest corridors of resistance against natural resource plunder and wholesale land grabs,” said Kalikasan PNE national coordinator Leon Dulce.
Dangerious ‘hit list’
“Duterte’s dangerous ‘hit list’ should immediately be revoked and its chief architects should be held accountable,” Dulce said.
“Defending the environment is not a crime, much less an act of terrorism,” he added.