Dexter and Bazoo are young human rights defenders who have been missing since April.
Indigenous Peoples’ rights defenders Dexter Capuyan and Gene Roz Jamil “Bazoo” de Jesus, were reported missing for weeks now in a suspected case of enforced disappearances by state security forces. They were last seen in Taytay town, Rizal province, on 28 April. Their fate and whereabouts remain unknown. Their families have tried searching for them by visiting military and police facilities, but majority of these facilities have denied them assistance, including access, and a categorical declaration of whether or not the authorities have Dexter and Bazoo in their custody, as the law requires.
We learned from their families that they received information from witnesses that two men matching Dexter and Bazoo’s descriptions were forcibly taken by unknown individuals identifying themselves as working for a police agency, around the time and place where the two activists were last seen. The families have received neither a confirmation nor a denial from government security forces that such operation, whether official or not, indeed happened.
This is not the first time in the last year that human rights defenders and activists have been abducted; some were later released by individuals whom victims identified as connected with the government. Prior to their disappearance, these human rights defenders were relentlessly ‘red-tagged’ or accused by the government of being members of the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army.
In line with their offices’ and the government’s international human rights obligations, we call on the Department of National Defense and the Department of the Interior and Local Government to:
- Clarify the fate and whereabouts of Dexter and Bazoo; ensure a prompt, thorough, independent, impartial, transparent and effective investigation into their disappearance, and allow and carry out diligent search of your facilities;
- Categorically state whether or not Dexter and Bazoo are in government custody, alongside fulfilling the government’s other obligations under the Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act of 2012; and
- Should they be detained by the government, immediately release Dexter and Bazoo and ensure that those suspected to be responsible for their enforced disappearance are brought to justice in fair trials.
Sign the petition.
Surface Dexter and Bazoo!
PROTECT HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS! END DISAPPEARANCES!