Abduction survivor April Dyan Gumanao will speak at around 5 p.m. (Philippine time) today during a side event of the ongoing 52nd Regular Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) at Geneva’s Palais des Nations.
This is in anticipation of the Ferdinand Marcos Jr. government’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) adoption of recommendations made by the UN on human, social, and economic rights in the Philippines.
The event is sponsored by civil society organization global alliance Civicus, as well as other people’s organizations based in the Philippines.
On January 10, Gumanao was kidnapped by suspected state agents as she and her fiancé Armand Dayoha alighted an inter-island ferry in Cebu.
Gumanao is “proof that human rights violations in the Philippines continue even under the Marcos Jr. government,” according to the Philippine UPR Watch, a delegation of human rights defenders and advocates participating in the Universal Periodic Review process of the UNHRC.
“The brazenness of the abduction and the fact that both victims are activists and development workers only point to the conclusion that state agents were behind it. We hope the world listens to what she says,” Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said.
In line with its mission to call international attention to the human rights situation in the Philippines, the Philippine UPR Watch invited Gumanao to join their delegation.
“Her case is fairly recent and falls directly under President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s watch,” National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers chairperson Edre Olalia said.
The Philippines will soon announce which of the over 200 UN recommendations made in November 2022 it would accept or reject—as witnessed by the UNHRC, UN member states, international experts, and other observers.
Gumanao will also deliver an oral statement during the adoption of the UPR outcomes on the Philippines.
Meanwhile, the abduction survivor thanked all the concerned groups and individuals who demanded they be surfaced and continue to call for better human rights conditions.
“On behalf din po kay Armand, nagpapasalamat kami sa inyo at sa lahat po ng tumulong, nakiisa, at nagpalakas ng panawagan para kami ay i-resurface. Dahil po sa inyo, nabigyan pa po kami ng pagkakataon na andirito at ipagpatuloy ang ating mga advocacies at ang ating mga pakikibaka para sa interes at kagalingan ng mamamayang Pilipino,” Gumanao addressed supporters in an interview with Altermidya.
The forum will be livestreamed on the Altermidya Facebook page today.