Protests mark Human Rights Day

Posted at 12/10/12 8:30 PM

MANILA, Philippines -- Around 2,000 activists in the Philippines took to the streets of Manila on Monday, protesting against alleged rights violations under the government of President Benigno Aquino on the 64th anniversary of International Human Rights Day.

The protesters marched near the presidential palace, demanding justice as they carried placards bearing the names of activists they claimed were the victims of extrajudicial killings.

Demonstrators burned an effigy of Aquino on top of a mock army tank.

Left-leaning group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, which means New Patriotic Alliance said the Philippine government has heavily militarised rural communities and is targetting activists and ordinary civilians.

The protesters blame the government for the deaths of activists in the southern Philippines who were fighting against large-scale mining.

"They need to stop the killings of activists, farmers and indigenous people and stop all mining applications, including the operations of big mining companies and logging companies in the country," said spokesperson for Karapatan (Rights), Christina Palabay.

A 2011 study on extrajudicial killings by the USAID reported over 364 cases of summary executions since 2001.

A quarter of the cases involved the police and military attacks on activists, journalists, government officials and religious groups.

Although, the Aquino government has set up special hearings and independent panels for human rights violations, very few cases have come to court.