The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders needs to be educated on the Human Rights situation in the Philippines, the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) said in a statement Monday.
On June 19, 2022, Mary Lawlor, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders appealed to the government of the Republic of the Philippines to abandon the charges filed by NSA Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. against what she calls cause-oriented groups KARAPATAN and GABRIELA, said Flosemer Chris Gonzales , acting spokesperson of the NTF-ELCAC.
He said Lawlor made sweeping, baseless conclusions and accusations against the Philippine government using the term red-tagged in what can be clearly seen as a complete re-echoing of the propaganda lines of the CPP-NPA-NDF and their allied front organizations.
“It is sad, if not tragic, that the UN Special Rapporteur lost all sense of objectivity in issuing a statement that is full of bias, prejudice, and literally maligns the Philippine government,” Gonzales said.
“Clearly, Mary Lawlor is ignorant of the real human rights situation in the Philippines. Her notion of human rights defenders is clearly biased and prejudiced,” he said.
She basically has become a mouthpiece of the biggest human rights violators in the Philippines, he said.
This rapporteur clearly has not been to communities that were at the receiving end of the most heinous and atrocious crimes committed by the CPP-NPA-NDF terrorist organizations and by their allied front organizations masquerading as human rights defenders, he also said.
“Clearly, this biased rapporteur has not spent time with former CPP-NPA-NDF cadres who unmasked and exposed the atrocities committed by the terrorist organization against the Filipino people,” he said.
“Clearly, this Rapporteur is ill-advised. Her statement lacks fair and comprehensive research. Her appeal is clearly out of line,” Gonzales said.
Gonzales said she must understand that the National Security Adviser filed the charges against the so-called “human defenders” based on facts.
She should have read the facts first before she made her appeal.
“While she has the freedom to express her sentiments and her opinions on the subject matter, it is also our right to inform her that her allegations against the Philippine government are false,” he said.
As a rapporteur, the least that she can do is to check her facts. It is incumbent upon her to verify firsthand what she hears and reads over the mainstream and online news outfits which at some point, are not fair and accurate reports of the facts on an incident or issue but more of “marites” type reporting that is biased, slanted, and prejudiced reporting.
“Ms. Lawlor, at this point, must realize that she owes the Filipino people an apology for the statements that she issued based on false information or information that she may have gathered from gossip vines [a.k.a. marites news networks],” he said.
In this case, she miserably failed to check her facts. Moreover, she should have exercised prudence before she accuses the Philippine government of purported human rights violations, he said.
“We cannot find any excuse for her statements maligning the Philippine government. Here in our country, we do our share in nation-building and in attaining a just and lasting peace for our people. She issued her statements as a UN rapporteur, and yet she has no bases for her allegations. What Lawlor did is irresponsible, unprofessional, and an insult to the Filipino people,” Gonzales said.
The least that she could have done is to be fair, objective, and remain true to the facts.
“May we remind you Ms. Lawlor, your position as UN rapporteur is not a blanket authority to malign a free and sovereign state like the Philippines. You do not even have the decency of determining first the real human rights defenders in this country,” he said.
“Contrary to your narrow-minded belief on what you claim is the human rights situation in the Philippines, you must know that the real victims of human rights violations in this country are working hand in hand with the government against the very same people and groups that you wrongly believe as human rights defenders,” Gonzales said.
“You are also informed that… It is not your job to interfere in our justice system and in the security concerns of this country. It is not your job to tell our National Security Adviser how to do his job. In our opinion, you have overstepped your boundaries and have trampled upon our dignity as a people,” Gonzales said.
“You do not malign the government with your baseless allegations. That is simply unacceptable to us. At the very least, you owe it to yourself to know the facts,” he also said.