Statement of the Commission on Human Rights on the 8th Anniversary of the Kidapawan massacre

Statement of the Commission on Human Rights on the 8th Anniversary of the Kidapawan massacre

The Commission on Human Rights is in solidarity with all Filipino farmers as we commemorate the eighth year of the Kidapawan Massacre today, 01 April 2024. The events that transpired during the three-day protest participated by at least 3,000 farmers in 2016, countered by an excessive and unjustified force by the police is a clear mark in our history that more has to be accomplished in recognizing the rights of Filipino farmers. Today, we remember that violence in the supposed peaceful protest claimed at least two lives, injured more than a hundred, and prompted the arrest and detention of farmers-protesters.

May this incident serve as a constant reminder to all of us that it is the primary responsibility of the Philippine government to ensure that all Filipino farmers will be protected from any threats which put both their livelihood and lives at risk. We remain firm that any form of negligence towards their sector is indicative of a government that pays no heed to the very backbone of the country who provides sustenance to all Filipinos.

Timely enough in its eighth year of commemoration, the Commission calls for strengthened efforts to address concerns brought by El Nino, the primary issue which has prompted the protests of farmers in Kidapawan in 2016. To understand the vulnerabilities that put Filipino farmers at a constant risk, it is important that we first acknowledge that inaccessible agricultural infrastructure and lack of representation within the policy-making realm are the primary hindrances from fully protecting and promoting the rights of farmers.Human rights violations against Filipino farmers must stop, and this can only start if we fully recognize the crucial role that they fulfill in the growth of the entire nation. As we remember the Kidapawan Massacre, let us honor the lives needlessly lost, demand for full justice, and echo the call that farmers’ rights are human rights.###