Zara Alvarez is the 13th Karapatan member killed under Duterte admin

Human rights group Karapatan said activist Zara Alvarez was their 13th member who got killed under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Zara Alvarez, 39, is a paralegal for the human rights group Karapatan. She was reportedly killed in a private village in Bacolod city, around 6:45 pm on Monday.

Karapatan slammed Alvarez’s killing, which occurred on the same day that peace consultant and peasant activist Randall Echanis was laid to rest. “What is beginning to look like killing spree of human rights defenders, peace advocates, and vocal critics in an attempt to sow terror and cower us into silence, especially now with the Anti-Terrorism Act in place,” the group said.

“When will the killings stop? We just buried a peace advocate yesterday, and we’re not even through with mourning his death, and we now have to grapple with the killing of one of our colleagues!” Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said.

Palabay, in a post, added that the 39-year-old human rights activities “was imprisoned for nearly two years, and after her release, she continued to as Karapatan’s paralegal and as research and advocacy officer of the Negros Island Health Integrated Program (NIHIP).”

She also said that Alvarez was included as among those tagged as “terrorists” in the proscription case of the Department of Justice filed in 2018. “Her name and that of many others were stricken off the list, but the threats against her by alleged State forces continued,” she said.

Also read: Police probe if death of human rights activist linked to leftist group

Zara Alvarez is the 13th Karapatan member killed under Duterte admin

Palabay said the slain human rights activist was receiving death threats from the military and police too.

“The military and police never ceased in harassing her even as she was distributing rice to impoverished members of her barangay just last April amid the mass caused by the lockdowns. We have no doubt that State forces are behind her merciless murder — the latest in a string of killings in Negros ever since Memorandum Order No. 32 was implemented in November 2018,” she said.

Edre Olalia, National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers President, also condemned the killing of human rights activist Zara Alvarez.

“It seems vocal and effective human rights defenders, activists and critics are being slayed one after the other with brazenness and audacious impunity. The obvious intent is to sow terror. The grief and rage continues,” he said.