In the Philippines, Indigenous Peoples are stigmatized and suspected of being members of the communist New People’s Army. They have been subjected to attacks, forced displacement, arbitrary arrests, and threats. Militarization has rapidly escalated in recent years and the number of extra-judicial executions has increased dramatically. Indigenous Lumad communities in Mindanao have been particularly targeted.
In retaliation for having raised concerns over the escalating violence, in February 2018 the Special Rapporteur was herself, together with 30 other known advocates for Indigenous Peoples’ rights and some 600 people in total, included in a petition submitted by the Department of Justice seeking to label her a terrorist. The petition also declared the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) as terrorist and outlawed organizations. The petition claims that the named individuals are known officers and members of CPP-NPA. The Special Rapporteur rejects these accusations as baseless and irresponsible. Such stigmatization and defamation of human rights defenders jeopardizes their security.