Arrest of human rights defenders
We condemn the arrest of Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Northern Mindanao Region (RMP-NMR) staff and lay worker Julito Otacan, and five other Banwaon human rights defenders (HRDs), on Oct. 27 in Balit, San Luis, Agusan del Sur.
Otacan is a field worker under the Protect and Promote Indigenous Human Rights in the Philippines, a project funded by the European Union and implemented by the RMP-NMR and Relief International.
Otacan, in his work under the project, had been going around the Banwaon communities in Agusan del Sur, to organize and facilitate the training of community members in their capacity as HRDs.
Under martial law, attacks against HRDs had been heightened, with community organizers and legitimate community meetings put under surveillance of state forces.
We are demanding their immediate release and for the government to ensure their protection while they are doing their legitimate work for indigenous peoples’ rights.
MARIDEL FANO, project manager, “Protecting and Promoting Indigenous Human Rights in the Philippines” project; program coordinator, RMP-NMR Rural Poor Organizing Support Program, email@example.com
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