No justice for slain Philippine fair traders



After almost a year since the brutal killing of Philippine fair traders Romeo Capalla and Dioniso Garete, no suspect has been brought to justice. Relatives and colleagues of the victims are demanding government authorities for swift action.

On 15 March 2014, Capalla, leader of Panay Fair Trade Center, was gunned down in a crowded entrance of Oton supermarket, Ilo-ilo Province, in the island of Panay, Philippines. Two months later, Garete, sugar cane farmer and local fair trader, was killed in Janiuay town, Ilo-ilo Province.

The killings brought the attention of the international community. In the summer of 2014, an international fact-finding was conducted to pressure government authorities to conduct impartial investigation. During the Asian conference of WFTO in October 2014, the Korean Council of Fair Trade Organisations and WFTO Asia signed a joined declaration calling the Philippine to stop political repression and killing of fair traders in Panay Island. See related story here.

Despite the international pressure, local authorities seemed to have difficulties bringing the suspects to trial. Philippine human rights group Karapatan said the suspects are linked to a militia group supported by the Philippine military.

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