View Adopted: 2020.03.13
The authors of the communication claim that the State Party has violated their rights under article 2(3), 7 and 17 of the Covenant.
On 5 December 2011, 121 families in Barangay Corazon de Jesus were issued a notice of eviction, which was left at the Barangay Hall. The notice was neither individualized nor personally given to the residents, and most were unaware of its existence. On 6 January 2012, the authorities posted a second notice of eviction on the front door of one of the houses in the community, with no mention of the persons concerned, stating that the residents had three days to vacate their home. On 11 January 2012, residents were forcibly evicted by demolition teams, armed with stones and water bombs, and police officers, armed with assault rifles and tear gas. The authors maintain that these forces resorted to illegal arrests and brutality, causing multiple injuries, including to minor children and arbitrary arrests, including to minor children. Two were also killed in this process. Following the arrests, the demolition resumed on 11 January until the evening of 13 January. The authors were forced to relocate to areas declared in danger zones or to inadequate housing.
The authors maintain that the property concerned had historically been public land that was considered as a safe area. In addition, the then-president of the Philippines, Corazon Aquino, had issued Proclamation No. 164 which excluded certain parcels of land from additional development, because they had been used for residential purposes since the 1950s. The authors submit that under this proclamation, the land the authors were occupying had been awarded to its members of their Homeowners Association. They also submit that they were not consulted in any way prior to or during the evictions and had no opportunity to present their opposition to the demolition or to participate in the discussions on relocation.
On this factual basis, the authors allege that the State party has violated their rights under articles 2 (3), 7, and 17 of the Covenant. They also allege a violation of article 6 with respect to those who were killed during the eviction.
The Committee recalled its jurisprudence according to which the author must exhaust, for the purpose of article 5 (2) (b) of the Optional Protocol, all judicial or administrative remedies insofar as such remedies offer a reasonable prospect of redress and are de facto available to the author. It also recalled that mere doubts about the effectiveness of domestic remedies do not absolve the authors of the requirement to exhaust them. On this basis, it found that the authors had not convincingly explained why the domestic judicial remedies still available to them would not have been effective in their case. Accordingly, it considered the communication inadmissible due to non-exhaustion of domestic remedies.