BY JHONG DELA CRUZ
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
Vol. VII, No. 25, July 29-Aug. 4, 2007
Vancouver, British Columbia – In a tribute to signify their protest against the impunity in human rights violations back home, supporters of Alice Omengan-Claver gather July 28 to mark the one year anniversary of her death.
Claver, wife of then Bayan Muna-Kalinga Chapter chair Dr. Chandu Claver, died a year ago from assassins’ bullets in Bulanao, Tabuk in the province of Kalinga in the Philippines. The ambush is widely-believed to have been carried out by military operatives in the province as part of the counter-insurgency campaign of the Macapagal-Arroyo government called Oplan Bantay Laya (Operation Guard Freedom).
Dr. Claver, who sustained gunshot wounds, and their three daughters, including the one who survived the attack, sought refuge here in Canada.
“Alice’s life and death is an inspiration to all peace-loving Filipinos and it is only fitting that we celebrate her life,” said Erie Maestro, acting chair of the B.C. Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (BCCHRP) in Vancouver.
The gathering also become part of a global-wide campaign – Stop the Killings in the Philippines – being mounted by rights groups, she said.
Dr. Claver and his three daughters attended the gathering.
The latest number of victims of extra-judicial killings has reached 885 and 183 for enforced disappearances, according to Philippine-based group, Karapatan. Over a million had been displaced by the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ counter-insurgency campaign.
The international community has expressed its concern and condemnation over the human rights violations in the country. Despite the international pressure, the Arroyo government has yet to put a stop to the spate of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances.
A March 2007 decision of the second session of the Permanent People’s Tribunal, an internationally-recognized non-governmental body, has found the Arroyo government and U.S. President George Bush “guilty of crimes against humanity and its own people in the pursuit of its relentless war on terror”.(Bulatlat.com)