18 August 2020

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD), strongly condemns the killing of the Women Human Rights Defender Zara Alvarez, 13th rights worker killed under the Duterte administration. Unidentified perpetrators shot her down along Sta Maria Street in Eroreco, Barangay Mandalagan, Bacolod City on Monday night, 17th August 2020.

Zara, 39, was a political prisoner for nearly two years and was released on bail in 2014.  After her release, she continued to work as Karapatan’s paralegal and as research and advocacy officer of the Negros Island Health Integrated Program for community development for many years. She was also a member of the Council for Health and Development’s board of trustees. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Zara was coordinating and conducting relief operations as part of a community health program, despite receiving repeated threats to her life and safety. 

Like slain peace consultants Randall Echanis and Felix Randy Malayao, Zara was among the 600 individuals tagged as “terrorists” in the proscription case filed by a ranking state prosecutor in the Manila Regional Trial Court in 2018, targeting the revolutionary groups to harass and threaten them. Later Zara’s name was stricken off but the threats against her by alleged State forces continued. Alvarez is the second human rights defender killed in a span of two weeks after Echanis was found dead in a rented house in Novaliches, Quezon City last August 10. 

The death of even one human rights defender is way too many. Yet under the current Duterte regime, at least 134 human rights defenders have been killed.  We demand justice for Zara along with other human rights defenders who have been victims of extrajudicial killings. UN member states and the international community as a whole have an obligation to immediately launch an independent investigation into extrajudicial executions and systematic human rights violations in the Philippines as recommended by the latest OHCHR report. Accountability and justice has waited for too long and it is the time to act.

Justice for Randy Echanis, Randy Malayao and Zara Alvarez!

Justice for all victims of extrajudicial killings!

End state fascism under Duterte administration NOW!


For further information please contact Neha Gupta, Information and Communication Officer, at neha@apwld.org.