Statement of Concern on the Philippine Situation

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Pope Benedict XVI “Hear me, you who know justice, you people who have my teaching at heart: Fear not the reproach of men, be not dismayed at their insults.” (Isaiah 51:7)

We, the members of the Carmelite Family working on Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation coming from 19 countries throughout the world, gathered in Fatima, Portugal from July 31 – August 15, 2006 with the Theme: “Promoting Justice and Peace in a Globalised World”.

Moved by our Prophetic tradition as one family in Carmel, we spent time to discern and contemplate together on the cries of the people and our environment today faced by the tremendous dehumanizing impact of Globalization around the world. We feel with great remorse that our world is full of injustices and disquiet. Being challenged by this very inhuman situation, we cannot close our eyes and remain deaf to the agonies of the world. Our faith and Carmelite tradition continuously compel us to help restore the world where Peace, Justice and Love reign.

Discerning on the different situations of the poor people in the different countries around the world, we are deeply troubled upon knowing the human rights situation in the Philippines. The staggering number of victims of extra-judicial killings which reached to 725 starting 2001, the 181 who disappeared and the increasing human rights violations are forthrightly done to church workers, leaders and members of organizations, activists, journalists, workers, peasants, among others with impunity. To such a degree the intrusion of the Multi-national mining and logging companies are wrecking havoc to the environment and affecting so greatly the lives of the indigenous people and their culture. Much more we are saddened to know that even church and religious people and co-workers who work for the poor are facing brazen harassment and intimidation. The disconcerted situation of the Religious of the Good Shepherd sisters who for a long time are working with the Indigenous people in Agusan del Sur is a manifestation of such an alarming situation.

One with the victims and the poor Filipino people, it is our stand therefore to join with the different church and religious groups, sectors and human rights organizations in the Philippines and other parts of the world in denouncing these injustices. We cannot allow this to continue. Peace and justice must prevail.

Therefore in one voice:

*We urgently call on the President of the Philippines: Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to act decisively to put a stop to these killings, protect the rights of the poor and uphold human dignity. Render justice to the victims and hear the cry of the poor people.
*We appeal to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to conduct an investigation into these killings in the Philippines.
*We also call on all people of goodwill to promote justice and peace throughout the World. Let justice flow like water, and uprightness like a never-failing stream! (Amos 5:24)

For Peace and Justice in the World, signed:

Artemio Jusayan, Philippines
Edgar Koning, The Netherlands
Nelson Belisario, USA
Miceal O’Neill, Ireland
Telesphoro Chelo Debí, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Amilton Vidotto, Brazil

and 31 Carmelite delegates of the International Meeting for Justice and Peace.

Fr. Amilton Vidotto, O.Carm.

23 August 2006

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