In the Philippines human rights activists are continued to be intimidated and harassed in a systematic way. Unfortunately the Philippines ‘authorities use their legal system to harass human rights activists who have been pursuing justice.
Zara Alvarez is a well known human rights activist who became conscious of the vulnerability of working on human rights and grass roots movements since her youth. Despite being incarcerated in jail for 21 months under trumped up charges she continues her work with strengthened resolve and passion for human rights.
Zara Alvarez engages herself with investigations/fact findings in several remote areas where mass human rights violations take place; as a result she was publicly labeled as a communist terrorist and threatened in several ways. In 2012, she became a target of the military counter insurgency campaign and she was arrested under fabricated murder and robbery charges. Her arrest was carried out on the highly suspicious grounds. Zara was put into inhumane jail conditions for 21 months and has then been released on bail, but her suffering and adversary to her work has not ended after her release. She unfortunately still faces insecurity and her daily activities and is closely being monitored by The Philippines’ intelligence.
Alvarez has a long and difficult road ahead in proving her innocence in a judicial system which is severally corrupted and flawed. False evidences are constantly being presented against her in order to keep her from carrying out human rights work.
At this juncture like many other human rights organizations, Human Rights Matter (HRM) fears for her safety and emphasizes the importance of protecting her from being targeted for false imprisonment and continued surveillance. HRM strongly believes that monitoring her trials could bring numerous benefits, such as preventing her from being punished under trumped-up charges and protect her from any threats and violation to her life/physical integrity. Therefore HRM is organizing a meeting with EU delegates in Manila and seeking for possibilities to achieve a mechanism for regular trial monitoring. In the light of this meeting HRM would like to call the support of the EU delegates in fulfilling and promoting the EU guidelines on the protection of Human right Defenders.