Example of a Human Rights Defender that the fund helped
Nermie Lapatis belongs to the Matigsalug ethnic group, an indigenous people on the Island of Mindanao. She was active in the Kasama Bukidon organisation which defends the rights of the peasants in particular against the major mining companies.
On 5 February 2014 she was driving to a meeting of the peasant community along with the President of the Association, Julieto Lauron. Their car was attacked by armed men on motorbikes who killed Julieto and badly wounded Nermie. The assassins then made off. This attack is just one of many in the long line of murders of activists fighting for the rights of peasants as well as indigenous peoples in the Philippines.
The Emergency fund took on Nermie’s medical expenses and covered the cost of her subsistence for three months so that she could stay elsewhere with her family in a neighbouring province. Nermie has now recovered and returned to work in her association and continues to seek legal redress against the attacks that human rights defenders are subjected to in the region. A book and a documentary have been made that includes Nermie Lapatis’ testimony.