On 25th Anniversary of EDSA 1: A Crying Need to Fight for Human Rights (PR)

23 February 2011

As the nation celebrates the victorious people’s uprising to oust the fascist dictatorship of Marcos in 1986, we in the human rights alliance of Karapatan reaffirm our commitment to defend and fight for the human rights of the Filipino people.

There is a crying need to fight for human rights. Two and a half decades since the military dictatorship was ousted, human rights violations continue with impunity. Despite the pretense and lip-service for human rights, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and other state security forces are bent to implement under the present Aquino administration the Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP) “Bayanihan” patterned after US counterinsurgency plans.

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We have removed a dictator. But US intervention and war preparations in the country is intensified as the US imposes globalized plunder and aggression. Militarization, especially in the countryside, abetted by feudal warlords and their private armies, secured the wanton plunder of resources by big commercial interests leaving entire communities poorer. This, despite 25 years of “peace and development” efforts by multi-million foreign funds, so-called “civil society” groups and “volunteer” NGOs.

Victims of human rights violations are seeking justice. Extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture, illegal arrest and detention, illegal search and filing of trumped-up charges remain. AFP military operations continue under the guise of civil-military operations (CMO’s) and “development work”.

The recently-held round GPH-NDFP peace negotiations, after more than six years, jointly upheld the previous agreements. Since this includes the Comprehensive Agreement for the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Laws (CARHRIHL), Karapatan asserts that all perpetrators of human rights violations be prosecuted and convicted.

People power may have spread in North Africa and parts of the Middle East today. Feudal kings, military regimes, rising prices and high unemployment stirred popular unrest. Regimes change. Social reforms and human rights, however, require far more direct political mass actions of the people.

That is what EDSA 1 stood for – direct political action of the masses. This is what the Aquino government should stand for now. On this score, we challenge President Benigno Aquino III to render justice to all victims of human rights abuses, withdraw all trumped up charges, grant unconditional amnesty to all political prisoners, and implement the much needed social and political reforms.

Karapatan hails the Filipino masses in continuing the struggle for genuine freedom, democracy, peace, justice and human rights 25 years after the ouster of a military dictator.

Jigs Clamor
Acting secretary-general, Karapatan

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