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Nov-17-2015 12:30printcomments

Philippines: Investigate the Raid of Human Rights Defender Antonio Nercua Ablon

A humble request for an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the raid.

Antonio Nercua Ablon
Human rights defender Antonio Nercua Ablon
Photo: Facebook

(LONDON) - Hon. Leila M. De Lima
Secretary, Department of Justice (DOJ)
Padre Faura Street Ermita
Manila 1000 Philippines

Your Excellency,

I am William Nicholas Gomes, Human rights defender and Freelance journalist. I would like to draw your attention to the following case.

On 7 October 2015, the work premises of human rights defender Mr Antonio Nercua Ablon, were raided. His computer was stolen, including the data he had been using for his human rights work.

Antonio Nercua Ablon is a human rights defender and chairperson of human rights group Karapatan in Western Mindanao. Karapatan is an alliance of individuals, groups and organisations formed in 1995 for the promotion and protection of human rights in the Philippines.

It is committed to defending people’s rights and civil liberties through education, training, advocacy, research and network building.

Furthermore, Ablon advocates for environmental rights, in particular criticising regional large-scale mining projects due to environmental concerns regarding their impact.

On 7 October 2015, the work place of the human rights defender, the parish office at the Pro-Cathedral Church in Tubod, was raided.

His computer was stolen, including the data he had been using for his human rights work. Where his computer had been, the unknown perpetrators left a threatening note saying “Watch out” and “Be ready”.

The raid does not seem to be an ordinary robbery as his more valuable belongings were not stolen. Furthermore, several days before the raid, unknown men came to the parish office looking for Mr Ablon and refused to introduce themselves when asked.

This was not the first time that the human rights defender has been targeted. In July 2013, his bedroom in the Bishop’s House in the Pagadian Cathedral was also raided, but no valuables were taken.

Karapatan's leaders and staff members in other Mindanao regions are constantly under surveillance from the military and the authorities, they also receive numerous threats and harassment from them. In April 2015, the Southern Mindanao office of Karapatan, was attacked by unknown men.

I expresses my concern at the raid of the premises of Antonio Nercua Ablon and the theft of his computer, which I believe to be a direct attempt to disrupt the peaceful human rights work he and his colleagues are doing in the Western Mindanao region.

I urge the authorities in Philippines to:

  1. Carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the raid of the premises of Antonio Nercua Ablon, with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards;
  2. Take all necessary measures to guarantee his physical and psychological integrity and security;
  3. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Philippines are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.

Yours sincerely,

William Nicholas Gomes
Human Rights Defender & Freelance Journalist


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