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Julito Rivera Otacan

Julito M. Otacan

HRD, member

Julito M. Otacan is a human rights defender, a member of Tagdumahan Indigenous Peoples' Organization and a field worker for Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Northern Mindanao Region (RMP-NMR). He is currently working under the Protect and Promote Indigenous Human Rights in the Philippines project, funded by the European Union and implemented by the RMP-NMR and Relief International. A focal point for many human rights organisations in the region, Julito M. Otacan is one of the most active defenders of indigenous rights, notably for his Banwaon community.

The climate of impunity that prevails in the Philippines, combined with the administration’s encouragement of extra-judicial killings of alleged drug users as well as the increasingly hard line taken by the army towards the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, has resulted in the serious deterioration in the situation for human rights defenders in the country. Since the election of President Rodrigo Duterte in May 2016, HRDs are facing a spate of killings and violence. Judicial harassment and criminalisation of HRDs remain common, with politicians and private actors, such as mining companies, using the criminal justice system to silence those who oppose their interests.