KARAPATAN challenges Aquino to prosecute GMA

and all perpetrators of human rights violations,

brings case to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva

 

 

Posted July 24, 2010

 

 

 

As they prepare to echo calls for justice in the mass actions on Pres. Noynoy Aquino’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, members of the human rights alliance, Karapatan, reiterated calls for the prosecution of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and all perpetrators of human rights violations.

In a press conference this morning, Karapatan chairperson Marie Hilao-Enriquez said that they demand “a categorical statement that shall make clear what is the true commitment of the Aquino administration with respect to the prosecution of Arroyo and all the perpetrators of its bloody human rights record.”

 

-- from KARAPATAN statement

 

   
   
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/p

Photos courtesy of KARAPATAN

Visit Karapatan website: http://karapatan.org/

           
           

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 

Human rights watchdog KARAPATAN to P-Noy: Prosecute GMA!

As they prepare to echo calls for justice in the mass actions on Pres. Noynoy Aquino’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, members of the human rights alliance, Karapatan, reiterated calls for the prosecution of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and all perpetrators of human rights violations.

In a press conference this morning, Karapatan chairperson Marie Hilao-Enriquez said that they demand “a categorical statement that shall make clear what is the true commitment of the Aquino administration with respect to the prosecution of Arroyo and all the perpetrators of its bloody human rights record.”

“P-Noy should not mince words on the issue of human rights. If his SONA will be straightforward and he will talk about resolutions and plans, we demand a concrete answer. Shall he prosecute GMA or not? Can the victims be assured of justice?” Hilao-Enriquez asked.

Calls for justice and Arroyo’s prosecution echo nationwide

Human rights workers from the different regions of the country, each having experienced the lash of the past Arroyo government’s bloody counter-insurgency campaign Oplan Bantay Laya, said they shall bring forth in their respective SONA mass actions the victims’ calls for justice and the prosecution of Arroyo.

Karapatan Eastern Visayas spokesperson Atty. Kathrina Castillo said they also demand “an end to the vilification campaign led by the AFP against activists and ordinary citizens,” as this was used by the past Arroyo government to legitimize attacks against progressives. Castillo was herself a victims of numerous threats and harassment including the military tagging that “she is a lawyer of the NPA” in their local radio programs.

Meanwhile, Fred Caña, Secretary General of Karapatan-Negros, said they call for justice for victims of killings since Aquino took oath as president in the same weight of calling for justice for the Arroyo government’s victims. “As in the killing of Fernando Baldomero, the first case of extrajudicial killing under his term, we will see this as a measurement whether he is truly serious to end the killings ,” Caña said. Baldomero is a Bayan Muna coodinator and two-term councilor from Lezo, Aklan in the Panay region.

Fr. Dionito Cabillas, National Coordinator of SELDA, also said the issue of the more than 300 political prisoners all over the country should be a major concern for Aquino regarding civil and political rights.

Dennis Abarientos, Secretary General of Karapatan-Central Visayas added that PNoy must end the bloody and brutal counter-insurgency campaign, Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL) I and II, and desist from embarking on a similar program, as this is one of the reasons for the massive human rights violations in the country under the GMA administration.

Protests shall continue

Hilao-Enriquez said they shall continue with a resounding campaign for justice and Arroyo’s prosecution especially in the Aquino administration.

“We will definitely push through with the legal actions involved in pursuing justice, to show that we are more than serious in prosecuting all perpetrators. On the other hand, we call on all human rights defenders here and abroad to continue supporting the campaign not only for justice but for a definite end to the killings, disappearances and all forms of violations,” she concluded. ###

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publicinfo@karapatan.org
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ALLIANCE FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF PEOPLE'S RIGHTS
Southern Tagalog
email:karapatan.st@gmail.com


PRESS RELEASE Reference: Glen Malabanan
July 23, 2010 Secretary General KARAPATAN-ST

HR advocates condemns continuing HRVs and EJKs in ST

Not more than one month after the inauguration of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, three peasants were already killed last July 19 in Southern Tagalog. Witnesses stated that two men riding a motorcycle shot the victims dead. The victims were recognized as Galvan Navarte, Demilita Largo and Benita San Jose, residents of Montalban, Rizal and member of KATRIBU, a militant organization of peasants and indigenous people.

The despised Arroyo regime is no more yet human rights violations and extra judicial killings continues not only in Southern Tagalog but also in the entire country. A few weeks before the incident in Rizal, three other members of progressive organizations were victims of extra judicial killings namely Mark Francisco of ACT Teachers Party- Masbate, Fernando Baldomero, provincial coordinator of BAYAN MUNA Party list - Aklan and Pascual Guevarra, member of ANAKPAWIS Party list in Nueva Ecija.

These are just part of the continuing counterinsurgency measures made to repressed militant groups. For nine years the Philippines was under the Arroyo administration, human rights violations and extra judicial killings were widespread in Southern Tagalog.

Militarization is rampant all over the region. This causes fear in peasant and urban poor communities where human rights violations were documented. In Sitio Kabute, an urban poor community in Brgy. Real Calamba, Laguna, military presence of the 202nd Infantry Battalion of the Armed Forces of the Philippines threaten the residents and in Sitio Buntog, Bryg. Canlubang Calamba, Laguna, residents are also threaten by the presence of the Regional Mobile Group and military.

According to the Alliance of the Advancement of People’s Rights- Southern Tagalog (KARAPATAN-ST), 61 political prisoners are still detained, including the 43 health workers illegally arrested in Morong Rizal and the Antipolo 4, 184 extra judicial killings was recorded from and almost human rights violations were documented from the Arroyo administration up to the present yet justice is still not serve and no suspect has been found guilty.
“”We challenge the new administration to end this forms of repression and human rights violations. Let justice be served. Our calls have been ignored by the government for many years. Even the case of Eden Marcillana and Eddie Gumanoy in 2006 was disregarded though hard evidences are presented proving the military guilty,” said Glen Malabanan, Secretary General of KARAPATAN-ST.

For more inquiries contact Glen at 09217420036 or Risa at 09217420020

 

Alliance for the Advancement of People's Rights
2nd Flr. Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin corner Matatag Sts., Central District
Diliman, Quezon City, PHILIPPINES 1101
Telefax: (+63 2) 4354146
Web: http://www.karapatan.org

KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties. It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign. It was established in 1995.
 

     
     
           
           


June 1, 2010

Families of desaparecidos to Pres. Noynoy:
Take the straight path to justice

The Families of the Disappeared for Justice (Desaparecidos) challenged president-to-be Benigno Aquino III, as they asked his help to surface all victims of enforced disappearances under the term of the out-going Arroyo regime. Desaparecidos also asked Aquino to punish the perpetrators within the police and the military, and most importantly, Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo who is the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

In a month, Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino will sit as the president of this country. Desaparecidos made reference to Aquino’s rallying line during the election campaign period. “You promised to take us to the “daang matuwid” (straight path) and vowing to fight for what is right. Now, we urge you take a stand and fight with the people who against injustice and impunity and correct the wrongdoings reigned upon us by this murderous outgoing regime.” stated Mary Guy Portajada, Desaparecidos secretary general.

“‘Daang matuwid’ for us means surfacing our loved ones and attaining justice—that is punishing the perpetrators, particularly outgoing president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, her minions in the military, foremost of whom is Jovito Palparan”, she added.

Mary Guy Portajada is the daughter of Armando Portajada who was abducted in 1987. Since the time of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, close to 2,000 Filipinos has been disappeared. Under the term of the outgoing administration of Gloria Arroyo a total of 205 victims of enforced disappearances had been documented. Not one victim or family has attained justice and no perpetrator has been punished.

The relatives of victims of enforced disappearance from the martial law era up to the Arroyo regime gathered today to make the appeal, 30 days before Aquino will take oath as president. The press conference was held at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani in Quezon City.

“We are urging the next president to make good his promises to be the complete opposite of the outgoing repressive and corrupt Gloria Arroyo. We call upon him not to repeat this dark episode of our nation’s history,” Mary Guy said.

The Desaparecidos said they will also ask for a dialogue with the president-elect to make the following appeal:

• Surface the victims of enforced disappearance, from the Marcos regime to the Arroyo regime
o Open the military camps and safehouses for searches by independent search teams
o Expedite the investigation of all the cases of disappearances
• Prosecute Mrs. Arroyo and the officials of the Armed Forces of the Philippines who were responsible for the disappearance of 205 persons from 2001 to 2009.
• Stop the implementation of Oplan Bantay Laya which was responsible for the political killings, disappearances and other human rights violations; and ensure that no similar counterinsurgency program will again be employed by the state
• Indemnify the families of desaparecidos as well as the victims who survived
• Enact a law that will criminalize enforced disappearance
• Ratify the UN’s International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances
• Resume peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and implement the Comprehensive Agreement for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, which considers enforced disappearance as a human rights violation.###

Reference:
Mary Guy Portajada, Secretary General
CP#: 09236582310/landline: 434 2837

     
           
           

 

Ecumenical Voice for Peace and Human Rights in the Philippines
PRESS RELEASE – 05 June 2010

“The Case of the Morong 43: emblematic of systemic and systematic human rights violations in the Philippines which are bred by social conditions”

GENEVA, JUNE 4 – “The Morong 43 case is emblematic of the human rights violations occurring in the Philippines. The plethora of violations at every step of the way, the various legal shortcuts, the brazen abuse or total disregard of the law and the deliberate attempts to escape accountability are conclusive evidences of so much impunity in the Philippines.” Atty. Edre Olalia, one of the counsels to the Morong 43 and acting Secretary General of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL), made these remarks at the side event highlighting the case of the 43 healthworkers, during the 14th session of the Human Rights Council held at the Palais des Nations at the United Nations.

Also testifying at the side event was Mr. Roneo ‘Jigs’ Clamor, husband of one of the detainees and Deputy Secretary General of the human rights alliance KARAPATAN. He narrated the circumstances during and following the arrest of the 43 health workers Clamor described how his wife was threatened and that her family would be harmed if she refuses to own up being a member of the New People’s Army. The other detainees experienced similar threats and other forms of torture, he said. He added that relatives who visited were subject to harassment by elements of the military. Ms. Marie Hilao-Enriquez, KARAPATAN Chairperson, went on to detail how the Morong 43 was deprived of their rights.

Speaking at the same event, Commissioner Cecilia Quisumbing also rued the failure of the military to respect the mandate of the Commission on Human Rights Quisumbing said the military does not respect human rights and does not see the difference between the mandate of the CHR and the investigative powers of the police. This is one reason, she said the military defies the Commission. Quisumbing also scored the “apparent impropriety of the warrant of arrest”.

In his response to the testimonies of the members of the Ecumenical Voice for Peace and Human Rights in the Philippines, Mr. Eric Sottas, Secretary General of the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT), noted that the Morong 43 is an example of the criminalization of social protest where the health workers are portrayed as criminals. Sottas said the social conditions in the Philippines, the vulnerabilities of the people and the great gap between the rich and poor and the fact that human rights defenders are advocating for these rights which are being denied, bear on human rights violations. Sottas said the Philippine government readily admits recommendations from the international community like the UN. But, it remains to be seen whether it has the political will to adopt and implement those recommendations.

Ms. Renate Bloem, representative of the World Alliance for Citizen Participation (CIVICUS) in the UN, reiterated that the international community of NGOs has been doing its share of supporting the case of the Morong 43 and will continue to link up and work for their release.


The side event entitled, The Morong 43 Case in the Philippines, was sponsored by the Ecumenical Voice for Justice and Human Rights in the Philippines and co-sponsored by the Civicus (World Alliance for Citizen Participation) and the World Organization against Torture (OMCT).##

Ref:
Fr. Rex Reyes
Head of delegation, ECUVOICE
+639267048249
 

     
           
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Philippine NGOa bring Morong 43 and other HRV cases to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva
     

 

Ecumenical Voice for Peace and Human Rights in the Philippines
Press Release
May 27, 2010

Philippine NGO’s bring Morong 43 and other HRV cases to the attention of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva

A group of Philippine NGO’s that comprise the Ecumenical Voice for Peace and Human Rights in the Philippines (Ecumenical Voice for brevity), will send a 5-member delegation to attend the 14th Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, and which will be held on May 31- June 18, 2010. The Philippines is presently a member of the said UN body.

The delegation is headed by the Rev. Fr. Rex Reyes, Jr., General Secretary of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP), with Marie Hilao Enriquez, Chairperson of the human rights alliance, KARAPATAN, Atty. Edre Olalia, Acting Secretary General of the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), Atty. Carlos Zarate, Secretary General of the Union of People’s Lawyers in Mindanao (UPLM) and one of the lawyers for Atty. Connie Brizuela who was among the victims of the Ampatuan massacre; Roneo ‘Jigs’ Clamor, Deputy Secretary General of KARAPATAN and husband of Dr. Merry Mia-Clamor, one of the Morong 43, as members.

“As the curtain falls on President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s 9-year rule, it is most certain that among others, it shall be marked as the worst in terms of adherence to human rights instrumentalities. With the implementation of Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL), the most vicious counterinsurgency program in recent memory, her government tops the scale of human rights violators in the country’s history since the martial law years,” declared Fr, Rex Reyes, Jr..

According to Ms. Marie Hilao-Enriquez of Karapatan, “under Arroyo's watch, there are 1,991 victims of extrajudicial killings, 205 victims of enforced disappearances, 1,028 victims of torture, and hundreds of thousands forcibly evacuated and displaced in rural areas as a result of military operations”. Ms. Hilao-Enriquez also stated that “these statistics represent the scale and magnitude of the brutal impacts of OBL under a so-called democratic rule. None in recent years, can compare to the culture of impunity that characterized these assaults on human dignity”. She also stressed the fact that when there is strong local and international pressure, “the Arroyo government is forced to “de-escalate” the number of human rights violations (HRVs). But even if the numbers decreased, there was no let up in the violations, with impunity becoming more brazen as in the cases of the Ampatuan massacre and the illegal arrest and torture of the Morong 43. Whenever there is a lull in the pressure, the number of HRVs shoots up again.”

She added that “the impunity is also characterized by the fact that not only is it continuing but also by the fact that to this day no one has been credibly convicted of these affronts to humanity. The victims cry out for justice. The Arroyo government must be held accountable for these crimes against humanity.”

Fr. Reyes said that the Ecumenical Voice for Peace and Human Rights in the Philippines will once more travel to Geneva, Switzerland for the 14th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Mr. Jigs Clamor, husband of Dr. Merry Clamor of the Morong 43, for his part said that he will bring the issue of his wife and the rest of her co-detainees before the international community as one of the examples of the “continuing human rights violations under Oplan Bantay Laya”. He further stated that the delegation “will appeal to the UNHRC to listen to the call of the Filipino people for justice and help stop further impunity and human rights violations through mechanisms like the OBL. We will lay our case for sustained international monitoring and pressure for the Philippine government to comply with its commitments and pledges to universally accepted human rights instrumentalities”.

Pertaining to the recent national elections and its relation to the trip, Fr. Reyes said that they are hoping “that the UNHRC will help push the Philippine government under presumptive President-apparent Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to fulfill his promise to prosecute President Macapagal-Arroyo, accord justice to the victims of human rights violations, end political repression, discontinue the OBL as a policy and never embark on any similar policy, and address the roots of the insurgency, namely poverty and injustice”.

The members of the delegation also stated that they will give “oral interventions” during reports of committees and rapporteurs that are relevant to the Philippine human rights situation###

References:
Fr. Rex Reyes, Jr, (9228141)
Ms. Marie Hilao-Enriquez (09175616800)
 

Karapatan chairperson Marie Hilao-Enriquez (second from left) presents the over-all context of the case of the Morong 43 in a side event at the 14th session of UN Human Rights Council. Panel members included [from L-R] Mr. Roneo Clamo (Karapatan Deputy Secretary General and husband of Morong 43 detainee), Enriquez, Renate Bloem of CIVICUS (as moderator), Cecilia Quisumbing (CHR commissioner), Eric Sottas of the OMCT, and Atty. Edre Olalia (of the National Union of People’s Lawyers and legal counsel of the Morong 43).

Commissioner Coco Quisumbing answers questions from the floor during
the open forum as Renate Bloem of CIVICUS looks on

Roneo “Jigs” Clamor, husband of Dr. merry Mia recunts the painful ordeal his wife have undergone in the hands of her military captors; to the obvious disdain of Eric Sottas, from the OMCT.

           
     

 

Ecumenical Voice for Peace and Human Rights in the Philippines

 

PRESS RELEASE
4 June 2010

Group insists counter-insurgency policy behind attacks on lawyers and judges

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND (3 June 2010) – Members of a Filipino civil society delegation claimed that the counter-insurgency policy of the outgoing Arroyo government is the culprit behind the spate of killings involving lawyers, judges and human rights defenders in the Philippines.
 

“The real problem lies in the outgoing Arroyo government’s counter-insurgency paradigm that employs polices that do not distinguish who are the combatants and who are not; who are armed and who are not…This is a counter-insurgency policy that just lumped together all the critics and all those who are critical of the government’s policies and programs as enemies of the state… and, considering that they are enemies these people must be eliminated, one way or another,” said lawyer Carlos Isagani Zarate, vice president of the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) and member of the Ecumenical Voice for Peace and Human Rights in the Philippines (Ecumenical Voice for brevity). The group sent a five-member delegation to Geneva for the 14th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, which is being held from May 31 to June 18.

The other members of the delegation are: Rev. Fr. Rex Reyes, Jr., general secretary of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP), delegation head, Marie Hilo Enriquez, chairperson of the human rights alliance Karapatan, Edre Olalia, acting secretary general of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) and Roneo Clamor, deputy secretary general of Karapatan and husband of Dr. Merry Mia-Clamor, one of the health workers dubbed as the Morong 43 now illegally detained by the Arroyo government.
Zarate made the statement during a forum attended by lawyers, jurists, academics and other members of different civil society organizations from the different countries at the Palais des Nations here.

The gathering -- with the theme “Attacks on lawyers, Judges, and Human Rights Defenders: The Urgent Need for Protective Measures” -- was convened by the Lawyers Rights Watch Canada, Dutch Lawyers for Lawyers Foundation, Judges for Judges and the International Commission of Jurists. It was one of the side events of the ongoing session of the UN Human Rights Council

“We believe that to effectively address the problem of attacks faced by judges, lawyers and human rights defenders, we have to employ more long term solutions.. long term protective measures that will have greater impact on the persons sought to be protected,” said Zarate who was one of the reactors of the said forum.

Since 2001, some 26 lawyers and 17 judges have already been killed in the Philippines. Some 51 other cases of lawyers being attacked, labeled and harassed were also recorded since 2001.

Zarate’ s statement came as a response made by Brazilian Judge Gabriela C. Knaul de Albuquerque e Silva, the newly appointed UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, who vowed to make herself available on a “full time “ basis. She also said she will fully use her powers as a Special Rapporteur to work with members of the civil society organizations “to address the root causes that creates a scenario where threats and intimidations are happening.”

“We have to work together and do more to employ effective protective measures to help the judges, lawyers and human rights defenders,” she said.
“In the Philippine context, there is clear interconnection between the culture of impunity, the counter-insurgency policy of the government and the lack of protective measures to address the problems spawned by such a policy,” Zarate noted.

Zarate also criticized the penchant of the Philippine government to “misrepresent” the manner by which it addresses the problem of impunity in the Philippines. He pointed for example the claims of an official of the Philippine Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva, who claimed that the Arroyo government immediately acted to “swiftly bring to justice those responsible” for the now internationally-condemned November 23, 2009 Ampatuan Massacre in Maguindanao, Mindanao. “What swift justice is he boasting about? The Arroyo government through Acting Secretary of Justice Agra even tried to exonerate two of the principal accused in the case while the attention of the Filipinos was focused on the recently concluded May national elections,” Zarate said.
 

One of Morong 43's counsels, Edre Olalia, enumerates a long list of every possible human rights violations committed against his clients from zero hour till the present time.

OMCT's Eric Sottas reacts to the presentations of his co-panel of speakers

           
     
Philippine NGO delegation conducts side event during 14th UNHRC Session
     
           

 

PRESS RELEASE – June 3, 2010
GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

Philippine NGO delegation conducts side event during 14th UNHRC Session

“Impunity a serious issue that characterized extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances in the Philippines” – Prof. Alston


GENEVA, SWITZERLAND - "It is very important, in my experience, to try to think strategically and to have a vision of how one really wants to look forward and I wouldn't for the moment, downplay the importance of prosecution, which I have emphasized consistently and I wouldn't de-emphasize the extent of the problem of impunity which sends a continuing signal to the military that they can do what they want." Thus did Professor Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, state emphatically during yesterday’s side event entitled, "THE POLITICAL KILLINGS AND OTHER HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE PHILIPPINES: IMPUNITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY AT A CROSSROADS BETWEEN TWO ADMINISTRATIONS?" at the ongoing 14th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Professor Alston was reacting to the call echoed by the Ecumenical Voice for Peace and Human Rights in the Philippines for the prosecution of President Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo for the extrajudicial killings that claimed the lives of 1,191 victims and all other violations of human rights during her nine years watch. Alston also said that impunity was the most serious issue that characterized the extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances in the Philippines.

It will be recalled that Professor Alston visited the Philippines in 2007. A year later, he submitted his formal report to the UN Human Rights Council. The Alston Report as it is known in the Philippines is a detailed narrative on the extradjudicial killings that peaked in 2005-2006 in the country. The Alston report cited the counter-insurgency program of the government and the failure to prosecute perpetrators as the main reasons behind the killings. The report also proposed some recommendations for the government to undertake. The government, however, maligned Professor Alston and ignored the report.

Prof. Alston also warned that the newly elected president is most likely to be advised by some other state actors to go slow on his campaign promise to prosecute the perpetrators of these killings and other human rights violations in the Philippines. "The President-elect will likely be reminded that he is heavily dependent on the Armed Forces of the Philippines, not to cause problems and that any prosecution will alienate the military," Alston said. Turning to human rights defenders in the Philippines, Alston suggested that focus be given on the role of the judiciary and the human rights commission. He lauded the strong leadership of NGOs saying that among the countries he visited, the civil society in the Philippines was by far the most active in terms of providing him the data he needed.

During the side event, Ms. Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Chairperson of KARAPATAN, said that the Oplan Bantay Laya counter-insurgency program being implemented by the Arroyo administration is the most vicious and brutal program unleashed by any Philippine president against the Filipino people as this is targeting civilians and civil society organization leaders and members rather than the armed rebels. In the same vein, Rev. Rex Reyes, Jr. General Secretary of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) and President of the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) thanked Prof. Alston for the report which is constantly referred to in putting the government to task for its continuing violations of human rights. He also thanked the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation and the churches in North America for accompanying the Philippines in "bringing before the international community the brazen assault on human dignity in the Philippines". Reyes reported that in view of the brazenness and impunity, some churches are seriously considering a class suit against the President when she steps down from office on June 30, 2010.

Prof. Alston, whose term as Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions ends in July 2010, presented his final report to the UN HRC. In his remarks at the side event, he said he had "always retained great interest in the Philippines and will continue to be interested".

CHR Commissioner Cecilia "Coco" Quisumbing, who also attended the side event, bewailed the military's and police's non-cooperation with the Commission during hearings or inquiries called by the latter. She also shared with the audience the promises that the presumptive president Noynoy Aquino declared when the Commission interviewed him on his plans as incoming president.

The side event was co-sponsored by the Commission of Churches on International Affairs of the World Council of Churches (CCIA/ WCC), the United Methodist Church – General Board on Church and Society (UMC-GBCS), Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) and endorsed by the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL).###


References:
Rev.Fr. Rex Reyes, General Secretary, NCCP (mobile no.+639267048249)
Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Chairperson, Karapatan(mobile no.+639175616800)

Members of the Delegation: Fr. Rex Reyes, Jr. (General Secretary, NCCP), Ms. Marie Hilao-Enriquez (Chairperson, Karapatan), Atty. Edre Olalia (Acting Secretary General, National Union of People's Lawyers), Mr. Jigs Clamor (Deputy Secretary General, Karapatan and husband of Dr. Merry Clamor of the Morong 43), Atty. Carlos Zarate (Secretary General, Union of Peoples' Lawyers in Mindanao).
 

     
     
     
           
     
           

 

Ecumenical Voice for Peace and Human Rights in the Philippines

Press Statement
May 27, 2010

That the world may know again

As the curtain falls on President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s 9-year rule, it is most certain that among others, it shall be marked as the worst in terms of adherence to human rights instrumentalities. With the implementation of Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL), the most vicious counterinsurgency program in recent memory, her government tops the scale of human rights violators in the country’s history since the martial law years.

According to Karapatan, there were 1,191 victims of extrajudicial killings, 205 victims of enforced disappearances, 1,028 victims of torture and hundreds of thousands of people forcibly evacuated and displaced in rural areas as a result of military operations – all committed during President Arroyo’s watch. These represent the scale and magnitude of the brutal impact of the OBL under a so-called democratic rule. The culture of impunity that characterized this assault on human dignity is second to none in recent years. When there is strong local and international pressure the Arroyo government is forced to “de-escalate” the number of human rights violations. But even if the numbers decreased there was no let-up in the violations, with impunity becoming more brazen as in the cases of the Ampatuan massacre and the illegal arrest and torture of the Morong 43. Whenever there is a lull in the pressure the number of violations shoots up again.

The impunity is also characterized by the fact that not only is it continuing but also by the fact that to this day no one has been credibly convicted of these affront to humanity. The victims cry out for justice. The Arroyo government must be held accountable for these crimes against humanity.

Moved by faith and aware that in our refusal to speak “even the stones will cry out”, the Ecumenical Voice for Peace and Human Rights in the Philippines will once more travel to Geneva, Switzerland for the 14th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. There, we will again bring to the attention of the international community the persistent and continuing violations to human rights under Oplan Bantay Laya. We will lay before the international community the story of the continuing detention of the Morong 43. We will appeal to the UNHRC to listen to the call of the Filipino people for justice and help stop further impunity and human rights violations through mechanisms like the OBL. We will lay our case for sustained international monitoring and pressure for the Philippine government to comply with its commitments and pledges to universally accepted human rights instrumentalities.

Having gone through a recent national election, it is also our hope that the UNHRC will help push the new Philippine government under presumptive President-apparent Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to : fulfill his promise to prosecute President Macapagal-Arroyo, accord justice to the victims of human rights violations, end political repression, discontinue the OBL as a policy and never embark on any similar policy, and address the roots of the insurgency, namely poverty and injustice.

In the end, there can be no substitute to the vigilance of the people. From all walks of life in this Republic, we must be watchful by keeping to mind lessons of the past - of how our forebears resisted oppression thereby showing us that it is possible for just and peaceful times to dawn upon us.##

Members of the Delegation: Fr. Rex Reyes, Jr. (General Secretary, NCCP), Ms. Marie Hilao-Enriquez (Chairperson, Karapatan), Atty. Edre Olalia (Acting Secretary General, National Union of People's Lawyers), Mr. Jigs Clamor (Deputy Secretary General, Karapatan and husband of Dr. Merry Clamor of the Morong 43), Atty. Carlos Zarate (Secretary General, Union of Peoples' Lawyers in Mindanao).

Reference: Fr. Rex Reyes, Jr., General Secretary, NCCP
Tel: 9228141, email: library@nccphilippines.org, ecumenicalvoice@gmail.com

 

Panel of Phil NGO delegation to the 14th UNHRC (Fr Rex Reyes, Marie Hilao Enriquez and Roneo Clamor)
Rights advocates stamps Gloria Arroyo-AFP-PNP as certified human rights violators
Roneo Clamor, husband of detained Dr Merry Mia Clamor, to bring case of Morong 43 to Geneva
           
     

 

PRESS RELEASE – 07 JUNE 2010

World Council of Churches to continue monitoring the HR situation in the Philippines; expresses deep concern and solidarity with Morong 43 Health Workers

GENEVA, JUNE 7 – In a clear signal of continuing solidarity with the churches and human rights defenders in the Philippines, the World Council of Churches through its Commission of the Churches on International Affairs (CCIA-WCC) invited the delegation of the Ecumenical Voice for Peace and Human Rights in the Philippines (EVPHRP) to speak before an audience at the WCC headquarters here.

In welcoming the delegation, Dr. Mathews George Chunakara, Director of CCIA-WCC said the WCC has supported the human rights work in the Philippines “for as long as I can remember” and will continue to do so for as long as human rights violations go on. He said the WCC, through its General Secretary, is one of the international organizations that issued statements in support of the call for the release of forty three health workers who were arrested on February 6. He noted the strong partnership between the churches in the Philippines and non-government organizations that take a principled stand on human rights protection. Also, lending support was Ms. Christina Papazoglou, WCC’s Programe Executive for Human Rights.

A highlight of the presentation of the EVPHRP was the case of the illegal arrest, torture and continuing detention of the 43 health workers, more popularly known as the Morong 43. Mr. Jigs Clamor, a member of the delegation and husband of one of the medical doctors of the Morong 43, narrated how his family suffered and continues to suffer while his wife is under detention. He said his wife was told by the military officers of reprisals to her family unless she admits that she and the others are members of the New People’s Army. “This is the same story with the families of the other detainees,” Clamor said. For six days following their arrest, the Philippine Army denied them visitorial rights by their families and legal counsel. He thanked the WCC for calling for the release of the health workers.

Ms. Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Chairperson of the Philippine human rights watchdog, KARAPATAN, and a victim of torture during the Martial Law years, said that international pressure is important for human rights work in the Philippines. The number of victims shoots up, each time nobody is watching, she said. Atty. Edre Olalia, acting Secretary General of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) and a legal counsel of the Morong 43 discussed briefly the legal twist and turns they are confronted with amidst the impunity. All kinds of human rights violations at every juncture were heaped on the Morong 43 , he said as he enumerated the extensive grounds for citing the arrest and detention as illegal.

 

 

For his part, Fr. Rex Reyes, Jr., General Secretary of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, underscored the necessity of living out the words of Jesus Christ who said “I have come that you may have life and have it abundantly”. He said the defense of human rights goes beyond political boundaries as, in the process, one speaks and declares hope where it seems not to exist. He underscored the need to affirm the church’s self-understanding as being for and with people. “We do our best to preserve human dignity in that part of the world, conscious of the fact that we are your representatives there. It is an ecumenical task”, Reyes said as he reiterated the WCC’s definition of ecumenism. He thanked the WCC for its unwavering accompaniment to the churches in the Philippines.

Following the session, the delegation paid a call on WCC General Secretary Dr. Olav Fykes Tveit. In welcoming the delegation, Dr. Tveit expressed the WCC’s support to the work of the churches for the defense of human dignity and assured the delegation of his continuing interest on the case of the Morong 43. The delegation is in Geneva to attend the 14th Session of the UN Human Rights Council. ###

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ATTENTION: NEWS DESKS
MEDIA ADVISORY
May 26, 2010

Reference:
DJ Acierto, Media Liaison
09189790580
Telefax: 435-4146

Press conference of Delegation of Human rights defenders going to Geneva, Switzerland to bring to the attention of the international community the issue of the 43 health workers during the 14th Session of the UN Human Rights Council.

The delegation of the Ecumenical Voice for Peace and Human Rights in the Philippines composed of Fr. Rex Reyes, Jr. (General Secretary, NCCP), Ms. Marie Hilao-Enriquez (Chairperson, Karapatan), Atty. Edre Olalia (Acting Secretary General, National Union of People's Lawyers), Mr. Jigs Clamor (Deputy Secretary General, Karapatan), Atty. Carlos Zarate (Secretary General, Union of Peoples' Lawyers in Mindanao) will travel to Geneva, Switzerland for the 14th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). They will talk about the continuing violations under Oplan Bantay Laya and will urge the Council to push the new Philippine government to render justice to victims and resolve cases of human rights violations

May 27, Thursday, 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. at the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP)
Conference Room (879 EDSA, Quezon City).
 

 

     
     
           
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