Marking the International Day of the Disappeared

in San Francisco and Utrecht


August 30, 2010




San Francisco, USA


For Immediate Release
Michael Luat, Chair
San Francisco Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines


San Francisco, CA – On August 30th, 2010, the Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (SF-CHRP) gathered with members of Filipino and allied communities for a solemn procession and candlelight vigil, concluding a month-long series of actions in commemoration of International Day of the Disappeared. There were over 60 activists, workers, professionals, youth, students, and elders representing SF-CHRP, Anakbayan East Bay and Seattle, Babae, BAYAN-USA, Bayanihan Community Center, Bindlestiff Studio, Filipino Community Center, Gabriela USA, Kappa Pi Epsilon, League of Filipino Students - San Francisco State University, Liwanag Kultural Center, National Alliance for Filipino Concerns, Samahan ng Kababaihan, Viet Unity, and the Xicano Moratorium Coalition who marched from Market Street to the Philippine Consulate with chants and songs to surface the disappeared.

Together, the alliance stood with the international community to denounce all forms of enforced disappearance, which are violations of basic human rights. The vigil was also held in remembrance of the 206 progressive activists and ordinary citizens who have been victimized by enforced disappearances in the Philippines since 2002. The alliance shared stories of the disappeared such as Karen Empeńo, Sherlyn Cadapan, James Balao, and Jonas Burgos, progressive activists who share similar visions with the alliance of a better future for all in the Philippines and around the world.

“In a perfect world we wouldn’t have to commemorate Desaparecidos, but as political abductions continue, International Solidarity will grow stronger!,” said Katie Joaquin, Chair of Anakbayan Eastbay

In 1981, a coalition of human rights groups from Costa Rica founded International Day of the Disappeared with hopes to expose and oppose secret imprisonment and enforced disappearances in Latin America. The tradition spread across countries worldwide and is now recognized by international agencies such as the United Nations and Amnesty International.

SF-CHRP demands that Philippine President Benigno Aquino III abolish Oplan Bantay Laya, the failed counter-insurgency operation of the U.S.-Arroyo regime that paved the way for the indiscriminate targeting, imprisonment, torture, and murder of innocent civilians.  ►►►




SF-CHRP further demands that Aquino develops a comprehensive plan to enforce lasting peace by addressing the root problems of the Philippines. Filipinos abroad and the greater international community challenge the Aquino administration to bring about immediate and unconditional justice for all victims of human rights violations in the Philippines.

Video of the Candlight vigil and procession to the Philippine Consulate in San Francisco, CA, U.S.


UTRECHT, The Netherlands



UTRECHT, The Netherlands (30 May 2010) – The International Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL), a worldwide grouping of public interest and human rights lawyers, challenged the incoming Philippine administration of presumptive president-elect Sen. Benigno Aquino III to immediately and vigorously pursue all legal moves to make accountable outgoing president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her allies for the crimes of plunder, human rights violations like killings, disappearances, torture, other crimes against humanity and other high offenses against the Filipino people.

Also passed during the end of the two-day IAPL 4th Congress were resolutions calling for the immediate release of 43 Filipino health workers illegally arrested and subjected to an array of human rights violations by security forces and the prosecution of all persons complicit in the now internationally-condemned Ampatuan Massacre in Maguindanao province, Mindanao, the Philippines, among others.

The Congress was attended by some 35 lawyers, judges, paralegals and law students from Afghanistan, Brazil, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, the Philippines, and Turkey.

“As an organization of people’s lawyers, we will make it certain that the outgoing Arroyo government will not escape prosecutions and being accountable for crimes committed against the people,” said lawyer Edre Olalia, who was reelected as president of IAPL.

“This is also a litmus test for Noynoy Aquino. His attitude and policy towards human rights will be judged at the first instance on how he will pursue the prosecution and conviction of Mrs. Arroyo, her family members and allies who committed crimes against the people,” Olalia, who is also acting Secretary General of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL), added.

Previously, the IAPL has already denounced the Arroyo government over its human rights record that is marred by the killings of activists, lawyers, judges and journalists.

Carlos Zarate, vice president for Mindanao of the NUPL, said the “culture of impunity” being promoted by the Arroyo government is the culprit behind the Ampatuan massacre that brutally claimed the lives of 57 civilians, including two lady members of the NUPL. “The prosecution for such monstrous act should not be limited only to the members of the Ampatuan clan and their private army… it should also include police and military officials and other civilian authorities who are equally liable.”

The IAPL is an organization of peoples’ lawyers in countries where there is oppression of the people’s rights and where the struggle to fight the same is also intense. #30.

Atty. Edre U. Olalia +639175113373
Atty. Carlos I. Zarate +639177174014
National Secretariat
National Union of Peoples' Lawyers(NUPL)
3F Erythrina Bldg., Maaralin corner Matatag Sts. Central District,Quezon City, Philippines
Tel.No.920-6660,Telefax No. 927- 2812
Email and
"Visit the NUPL at




Spoor de Vermisten op!

Stop de Schendingen van de Mensenrechten in de Filippijnen!


Op deze Internationale Dag tegen de Verdwijningen, gaan wij Filippino’s, door met zoeken naar onze vermiste geliefden, vrienden en collega’s, tevens verenigen wij ons met de gezinnen van de slachtoffers van vermisten in Latijns Amerika, Azië en andere delen van de wereld.

Wij houden vandaag deze protestactie om de repressieve krachten van de Filippijnse regering te veroordelen vanwege de afschuwelijke misdaden van het doen verdwijnen van de politieke oppositie en activisten.


Wij eisen dat de Filippijnse regering, de nieuwe president Benigno Aquino III, deze verdwijningen doet stoppen en onmiddellijk de meer dan 200 vermisten opspoort (206 slachtoffers alleen tijdens de regering van laatste president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo).


Gedwongen verdwijning is een misdaad tegen de menselijkheid, maar het is slechts een wreed onderdeel van de onrechtvaardige oorlog van de Filippijnse overheid tegen organisaties en personen die strijden voor landhervorming, recht, vrijheid en democratie.


Omdat wij de beweging voor maatschappelijke verandering in de Filippijnen steunen, roepen wij

onze Nederlandse en Europese vrienden op, solidair met ons te zijn.


Samen kunnen wij iets doen om deze praktijk van gedwongen verdwijningen te stoppen, de families van de slachtoffers helpen en hopen dat de Filippijnse regering de vermisten opspoort.

Doe met ons mee als wij brieven schrijven aan de Filippijnse President Aquino en aan de Nederlandse Ambassadeur voor de Mensenrechten, Arjan Hamburger, om onze diepe zorg over de gedwongen verdwijningen in de Filippijnen kenbaar te maken en het opsporen van de vermisten te eisen. Doe alstublieft ook met ons mee in het voorzien van financiële middelen voor de gezinnen van de vermisten, die hun broodwinners en bron van inkomsten kwijt zijn.

Meer informatie over de Filippijnen vindt u op de website van de Nederlands-Filippijnse Solidariteitsbeweging:


of email:

Chico Taguba of Theo Droog, (Woordvoerders)

Rice and Rights Network for Human Rights in the Philippines

(Pinay sa Holland, Kabalikat, Liga ng Kabataang Pilipino (Linkap), Migrante Sectoral Party, Nederlands Filippijnse Solidariteitsbeweging, Migrante-Netherlands, Migrante Europe, Filipino Refugees in the Netherlands)

30 augustus 2010. Utrecht



Surface the Disappeared!

Stop human rights violations in the Philippines!


As we commemorate today the International Day of the Disappeared, we Filipinos continue to search for our missing loved ones, friends  and colleagues, even as we join the families of the victims of disappearances from Latin America, Asia and other parts of the world.


We are holding this protest action today to condemn the repressive forces of the Philippine state for continuing this heinous crime of disappearing the political opposition and activists.


We are demanding that the Philippine state, the government of newly elected President Benigno Aquino III, to account for these disappearances and immediately surface the missing now numbering more than 200 (there were 206 recorded victims from January 2001 to June 30, 2010, during the term of the former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo alone).


Enforced disappearance is a crime against humanity, but it is however a cruel component of the unjust war of the Philippine government against organizations and individuals fighting for land reform, justice, freedom and democracy.


As we vow to stand alongside the movement for social change in the Philippines, we call on our Dutch and European friends to join us in solidarity.


Together, we can do something to stop this practice of forced disappearances, help the families of the victims, and hope that the Philippine state surface the missing.


Please join us in writing letters to Philippine President Aquino and Dutch Ambassador for Human Rights Arjan Hamburger, in order to express our grave concern over enforced disappearances in the Philippines, and demand the surfacing of the missing. Please join us also in providing financial support to the families of the missing who lost their breadwinners and sources of income.


For more information on the Philippines please visit the website of the Nederlands-Filippijnse Solidariteitsbeweging  at


or email:


Chico Taguba or Theo Droog, Spokespersons

Rice and Rights Network for Human Rights in the Philippines

30 August 2010, Utrecht, the Netherlands

Nederlands-Filippijnse Solidariteitsbeweging   |   Migrante Netherlands   |   Pinay sa Holland

Migrante Party List |   Linkap   |   Kabalikat

Filipino Refugees in the Netherlands |   Migrante-Europe



Dressed as women in traditional Filipino costumes, participants marched along a street in Utrecht Center in order to raise the issue of disappearances of in the Philippines. Under the government of Former President Gloria Arroyo, more than 200 political workers and organizers have disappeared  without a trace. This year, the participants are calling for the newly- elected government of President  Benigno Aquino III to address this issue.

In solidarity: The white head scarves have long been used in Argentina by the mothers of the disappeared
as they searched for their sons and daughters for years.

Surfacing their stories: After the picket, the participants shared and listened to stories about the lives of those who have disappeared from those who knew them, as well as other stories of the disappeared from other countries.

The participants held a small procession along the streets of the Utrecht city center holding pictures of the disappeared.


The participants also gave out information and stories to the public about the disappeared.