Zara Alvarez, Phillipines human rights activist, murdered – bringing total to 13

Ahmed Farooq, International Law Officer

On August 17, Zara Alvarez, a human rights activist, was shot and killed by armed assailants in Bacalod City.

According to Human Rights Watch, Alvarez is now the thirteenth human rights defender to be murdered in the Philippines over the last four years. Just a week before Alvarez’s unfortunate demise, unidentified individuals tortured and killed peace consultant Randall Echanis in his own home.

Both Alvarez and Echanis had once found themselves among 600 names on a terrorist list under the Duterte administration. Randy Malayao, another activist on the list, was the victim of a shooting in 2019. The murders of these individuals are depictive of the Philippines government’s impunity for killings of leftist activists.

Human rights coalition Karapatan, an organization to which Alvarez belonged, issued a statement expressing their “deep grief and indignation” over her murder. The left-wing political party Bayan Muna have also expressed condemnation for Alvarez’s death and referred to her as a victim of the government’s terrorist hit list.

Read more about the murder of Zara Alvarez here: https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/08/18/two-more-philippine-activists-murdered