Rights Group Condemns Davao Peasant Leader’s Slay

Karapatan (Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights) has condemned the killing of Davao peasant leader Celso Pojas, the first victim of extrajudicial killing in Davao City.

BY BULATLAT
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
Vol. VIII, No. 15, May 18-24, 2008

Karapatan (Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights) has condemned the killing of Davao peasant leader Celso Pojas, the first victim of extrajudicial killing in Davao City.

Pojas, who was the chairman of the Farmers’ Association in Davao City (FADC), was gunned down by motorcycle-riding at around 6:30 a.m. on May 15 in front of the FADC office along Maa Road. He sustained four gunshot wounds.

According to the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas-Southern Mindanao Region (KMP or Peasant Movement of the Philippines-SMR), Pojas at the time of his death was at the forefront of the campaign against militarization in Compostela Valley, which has victimized peasants and indigenous cultural communities. He was also speaking out in behalf of the family of Datu Dominador Diarog, another victim of extrajudicial killing, KMP-SMR also said.

��Clearly, the military have not ceased their policy of extrajudicial killings under Oplan Bantay Laya (Operation Freedom Watch),” said Ruth Cervantes, Karapatan public information officer.

In 2007 several international fact-finding missions, including that of a UN special rapporteur, found the military to accountable for perpetrating extrajudicial executions as part of its counter-insurgency operations. Amnesty International in particular said that people are being killed because of their ideology.

Karapatan extended its sympathy to the family and colleagues of Pojas, 45.

“We are with them in the fight for justice,” said Cervantes, who likewise expressed sympathy to the victims of summary execution in the May 16 RCBC-Cabuyao heist. “The government has an obligation to go after the perpetrators of this heinous crime.” (Bulatlat.com)

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