Farmers top victims of extra-judicial killings in RP report

Karapatan reported a total of 104 farmers out of the 185 victims of extrajudicial killing they have recorded so far from January to November.    

Of  the 104 slain farmers, 18  were from Southern Mindanao.

The report was released in time for the 59th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.

The number of victims of extrajudicial killings continues to increase, the group claimed, with perpetrators left unpunished making it the utmost concern in the Philippines human rights situation.

Kelly Delgado, Karapatan secretary general for Southern Mindanao, said farmers become the direct victims of abuses because they are at the frontline of "development" projects like mining and the government's war against alleged sympathizers of left rebel group New Peoples' Army.

Next to farmers are workers of factories and other establishments with 22 victims this year.

The group documented 185 extrajudicial killings from January to November.

Based on the report, there are now a total of 797 victims of extra-judicial killings nationwide from January 21, 2001 to November, 2006, 76 of them from Southern Mindanao.

Delgado said the trend has been the same through the years, but Karapatan considers 2006 the worst year for human rights in the country since the Marcos dictatorship was toppled down in 1986.

Apart from impunity in extrajudicial killings, Delagado said the other main trends in the country's human rights situation include alleged alarming increase in abduction and enforced disappearance, reign of terror in both rural and urban areas, intensified repression of trade unions, filing of false charges to justify illegal arrest, detention and harassment of  critics.

They also accused the Arroyo administration of curtailing civil liberties.  (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)