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CHR records election-related deaths

Graphic: Image looking into pistol barrel

The Commission is working in partnership with other human rights groups and the Commission on Elections to monitor election-related violence.

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has reported at least 14 deaths related in the lead up to the May 2016 polls, CNN Philippines reported.

The CHR said the cases of election-related killings were recorded from February 2016, the month when the campaign period began, until March.

The victims were from Regions 4-A (seven deaths), Region 9 (three deaths), and the Cordillera Administrative Region with two deaths; the two other deaths were still pending the CHR's confirmation.

The data came from CHR's monitoring team in partnership with other human rights groups and the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

"We have the dubious record of having the worst election-related violence in the history of the world. That's November 23, 2009. So our effort is to actually bring that to zero," said CHR Chairperson Jose Luis Martin (Chito) Gascon.

There were a further 49 instances of killings and harrassment believed to be politically motivated, recorded between June 2015 and March 2016. However, these reports, which came from concerned citizens and news organizations, still had to be validated by CHR.

Human rights officials said each report of election-related violence is fully investigated. Only when such reports are validated and confirmed will criminal charges be filed.

The CHR noted that many people are hesitant to come out for fear of being killed or harassed, adding, however, that it is ready to protect the identity of the complainants.

Aside from killings, the group has also monitored other election-related human rights violations and identified 15 cities and provinces as "election hotspots".

After the elections, the CHR will provide Comelec with all information relevant to alleged election offenses committed by any elected official.

The CHR and the Department of Justice may also file criminal charges.

Date: 8 April 2016

Source: CNN Philippines

Image credits

  1. Image looking into pistol barrel - besighyawn, Flickr; http://bit.ly/1SwOJFy