Karapatan expresses our condolences to the families, friends, and colleagues of Nolven and Kieth Absalon. Nolven was a 40-year-old chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Masbate Electric Cooperative Employees Union, while his 21-year-old cousin, Kieth was a former football player of the Far Eastern University.
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA) have claimed responsibility for the military operation which resulted in the deaths of the two civilians. We expect the CPP and NPA to live up to their pledge to ensure prompt investigations, to hold accountable the NPA unit and elements directly involved in the deplorable and lamentable incident, to indemnify the victims through their families — and, above all, not to let a similar woeful and tragic incident happen again.
We take notice of the prompt acceptance of responsibility by the CPP and NPA for violating International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and specifically of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law signed by the government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. It is a welcome respite from the outright denials and victim-blaming (“nanlaban”) we get from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) when confronted with cases of human rights and IHL violations.
This recent tragic incident should not be used as an excuse by the Duterte government, the AFP, and PNP to whitewash and make worse their already dismal human rights record as shown by the unabated cases of extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests and detention, and military operations in rural communities resulting in forcible evacuations.
Karapatan Secretary General