Karapatan officer claims getting death threats on International Human Rights Day
MANILA, Philippines — The secretary-general of human rights group Karapatan received threats of death and rape, among others, during the annual celebration of International Human Rights Day on Tuesday, she said.
Cristina Palabay said she received a phone call and a series of texts from an unknown number.
“I received a phone call from this number (a call which I took because I thought the caller might be a distressed victim or a journalist), presumably yet another caller from the military intelligence or paid hitman from the government threatening to kill me,” Palabay’s Facebook post on Tuesday read.
“He was asking where I live and said all the worst possible things that he/they will do to me.”
The caller subsequently sent texts containing praises of President Rodrigo Duterte and threats of rape against the Karapatan official. Screen captures of the said texts were included in Palabay’s post.
“Karapatan strongly condemns this verbal assault and series of threats against our secretary-general. Such use of words meant to demean Cristina on the basis of her identity as a woman is precisely indicative of the fascist character and toxic masculinity perpetrated and replicated by President Duterte and his supporters,” the rights group said in a Wednesday release.
Moreover, Karapatan said that aside from attacks targeting female leaders, the incident holds grave implications on the state of human rights in the Philippines considering it happened during a holiday meant to celebrate the observation of human rights.
“This latest attack confirms that as we commemorate human rights day, the Philippines has regressed to an all-time low with regard to its protection and respect for women’s and people’s rights,” the group said.
Despite the attack taking place through the official mobile number used by Palabay in media lists and press releases distributed during protests, including to police, Karapatan said that it will not be deterred.