CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 13 October 2018

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Human rights volunteer killed in Cebu

MANILA (UCAN): Butch Rosales, a 42-year-old volunteer for human rights group, Rise Up for Life and for Rights, in the central Philippine province of Cebu, was shot and killed in the middle of a busy city street on August 8.
 
The victim was shot in the head several times by an unidentified gunman who escaped on a motorcycle driven by another man.
 
Human rights group, Karapatan, condemned the killing, noting “the rising number of killings conducted with impunity in Cebu.”
 
Cristina Palabay of Karapatan said the killing “reveals the brazenness of perpetrators” who might have been assured by the “prevailing impunity that lingers.”
 
She said, “Rosales was killed in the same manner that suspected drug users have been killed.” 
 
The killing of human rights activists like Rosales and the recent attacks on leftist political leaders are viewed by Karapatan as part of a “concerted effort” by the government against its critics.
 
“We are confronted with a situation where the government’s repression is surreptitiously permitted by similar repressive laws,” Palabay said.
 
She accused the Duterte administration of making it legal to violate and bypass people’s civil and political rights.
 
“Whether it be in the war on drugs or in counter-insurgency operations, gross rights violations continue unabated,” Palabay said.
 
The Philippine National Police said that since 1 July 2016, more than 4,500 people been killed in the government’s intensified war against narcotics.
 
Human rights groups, however, contend that more than 23,000 people have died in drug-related killings since 2016.
 
On August 9 alone, three drug suspects were killed and 15 others were arrested in the province of Bulacan, north of Manila.
 
The Philippine government, meanwhile, expressed optimism that the country will enjoy a better relationship with the United Nations’ (UN) human rights body under its new leader, former Chilean president, Michelle Bachelet, who will succeed Jordan’s outspoken, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, who steps down at the end of the month after a four-year term.
 
Zeid earned Duterte’s ire after suggesting that the Philippine president seek a psychiatrist. He made the remark as he slammed the government’s actions against UN special rapporteurs, Agnes Callamard and Victoria Tauli Corpuz.
 
The government pointed to Zeid as one of the reasons the Philippines withdrew its ratification of the Rome Statute, which established the International Criminal Court.

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