At the end of April 2019, Urgent Action writers in Canada and around the world mobilized to protect Cristina Palabay. She is the Secretary General of a human rights alliance called Karapatan and she had just been told her name is on a death list. Supporters of Amnesty jumped into action and so far, she is safe. Read further for her message!
Cristina’s appreciation for the efforts to protect her shine through a message she wrote in May:
Dear Friends at Amnesty International,
Words cannot express how overwhelmed and thankful I am for the Urgent Action you initiated regarding the threats against me and the attacks against human rights defenders in the Philippines! Indeed, during the past months, several dreadful events occurred, including the killings of peasant leaders in the Negros province and the assassination of our dear colleague, city councillor Bernardino ‘Toto’ Patigas. Toto is the 58th Karapatan human rights worker who has been killed since we created the alliance.
I and my fellow human rights workers of Karapatan have received an almost daily barrage of death threats, vilification and smear campaigns as we all navigate this increasing constriction of civil society space and the nagging sense of danger under the current administration. On May 6, 2019, we filed a petition for the writs of amparo and habeas data to seek legal protection from the Supreme Court and for the disclosure and destruction of all government files or records that may endanger us. Your voices made me/us feel that we are not alone, and that solidarity indeed knows no boundaries.
As we brace for the results of the midterm Philippine elections on May 13, we take heart and strength from the support of the communities we serve, and the support of friends like you in the international community. It is our solemn pledge that we shall continue to defend and uphold human rights and people’s rights in the Philippines, despite the perils.
Again, my deepest respects and appreciation.
Cristina “Tinay” Palabay