PH lawyer wins US award for defending human rights

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Photo courtesy of Altermidya Panay

“This award will further encourage us to continue our work in defense of human rights and civil liberties in the Philippines.”

By DANIEL ASIDO
Bulatlat.com

MANILA — A Panay-based human rights lawyer, Angelo Karlo Guillen, has been named the recipient of the 2022 Roger N. Baldwin Medal of Freedom for his human rights work in the Philippines.

“I am particularly pleased that this award can be announced on International Indigenous Peoples Day, which is also National Indigenous Peoples Day in the Philippines. Indigenous peoples, such as the Tumandok community, as well as farmers, labor leaders and activists, have borne the brunt of unjust arrests, extrajudicial executions and other human rights violations committed by the security forces of the State which, to this day, still take place throughout the country. the country. Their rights must be protected, and we hope this recognition will help bring attention to their plight,” Guillen said on the Human Rights First website.

Guillen is a leader of the National Union of Peoples Lawyers. This includes documenting human rights abuses, educating farmers and indigenous communities about their rights under local and international law on Panay Island in the Visayas region.

To read via our mirror site: Human rights lawyer Angelo Karlo Guillen: Committed, unwavering

The award was presented to Guillen on National Indigenous Peoples Day in the Philippines on Tuesday, August 9, for which he was grateful, noting that the award could help shine a light on the plight of the country’s marginalized sector.

The lawyer dedicated the award to his work for the indigenous people of Tumandok, farmers, labor leaders, activists and co-lawyers and human rights defenders.

To read via our mirror site: The Tumandok arrested in Panay are the defenders of the ancestral domain

Human Rights First President and CEO Michael Breen said Guillen’s work has made a difference for Filipinos and shed light on accountability abuses.

Guillen is the first Filipino to receive the award which was chosen for his distinctive work, promoting human rights outside the United States, faces threats because of his work.

He is set to officially accept the award later this year.

Guillen was stabbed in 2021 in Iloilo by two assailants. They took his laptop and other documents before fleeing on their motorbikes.

This after the relentless red-tagging of Guillen and the NUPL, particularly after representing the 16 arrested Tumandok tribesmen who were arrested in Capiz and Iloilo, for alleged possession of firearms and explosives linked to communist rebels .

In 2018, 2019 and 2021, posters with his face and name appeared in Iloilo alleging he was a recruiter for the New People’s Army.

A total of 61 NUPL lawyers across the country have reportedly been killed since former President Rodrigo came to power in 2016, according to data from the Supreme Court, Justice Department, Free Legal Assistance Group and Call back.

Part of Guillen’s work is also to serve as one of the legal advisers among the 37 petitions challenging the constitutionality of the anti-terrorism law before the Supreme Court. (JJE, RVO) (https://www.bulatlat.org)

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