Rights advocates have joined together to stand up to the continuing human rights violations and impunity under the administration of President Duterte
Families of victims of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines gathered together to offer a Mass for their loved ones and continue to call for justice amidst the worsening human rights condition in the country.
The mass was held at a Catholic Church in Tondo, one of Manila’s poorest districts where suspected drug users and peddlers are killed on a regular basis.
Present are not only families of those killed in the government's war on drugs but also of those killed in government’s counter-insurgency program which targets political activists, indigenous peoples and farmers resisting land grabbing for business interest.
The mass was initiated by the newly-formed network Stop the Killings, Defend Human Rights!. The activity was a prelude to a bigger event to be held on June 12, Philippine Independence Day, wherein progressive groups, religious organizations, human rights advocates and urban poor communities will gather to raise the people’s just indignation over the continuing human rights violations and climate of impunity under the current administration.
After the mass, a short program was held in front of the church where a group of artists performed a drama and put up an installation art both depicting the violent deaths suffered by the victims of extrajudicial killings.
TWHA partner Karapatan, a member of the network, called on the people to denounce the continuing human rights violations and the rising culture of impunity under the administration of Duterte. A relative of one of the victims exhorted the families of the victims not to be cowed by the climate of fear but instead take courage to fight and testify on the involvement of police officers in the killings.