Australian human rights defender blacklisted, held at Manila airport

Gill Boehringer’s profile picture on Facebook. The Australian law professor has been a long-time ally of the Filipino people in the defense of human rights.

Original post Aug. 8, 8:26 p.m.
Updated Aug. 9, 9:10 a.m.


MANILA — Australian law professor and a long-time human rights advocate on the Philippines Gill Boehringer is being held by the Bureau of Immigration at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 in Pasay City since 12 midnight of August 8 upon his arrival from Sydney, Australia, according to an urgent action alert by human rights alliance Karapatan.

Beohringer, 84, was refused entry to the Philippines. He was told by immigration officers that he will be deported and that he is in the agency’s blacklist due to his alleged participation in a rally in the Philippines. He was instructed by the BI to board an 8:30 a.m. flight back to Sydney today, August 9.

Boehringer, married to a Filipina, has frequently traveled to the Philippines. He has been actively campaigning for human rights issues in the Philippines since the Arroyo presidency.

In a statement, Karapatan deplored “the continuing spate of harassment against human rights defenders like Prof. Boehringer who are being harassed and intimidated, for conducting human rights advocacy and international solidarity for victims of rights violations in the Philippines.”

The human rights alliance called on immigration authorities to respect the rights of Boehringer, including his right to due process and to have access to his family, lawyers and doctors, and his rights as a human rights defender.

Dr. Geneve Rivera-Reyes of the Health Action for Human Rights who examined Boehringer yesterday said the BI should not force Boehringer to travel again without a medical specialist’s clearance. She said the Australian lawyer has a history of an almost fatal pulmonary embolism, which is often caused by blood clots that travel to the lungs from the legs. Aside from his risk of having deep vein thrombosis, or the formation of a blood clot in a deep vein, Boehringer is also suffering from cellulitis, a bacterial infection involving the inner layers of the skin, on both legs.

The Supreme Bishop of Iglesia Filipina Independiente, Rhee Timbang, also called on the authorities to release Boehringer immediately. Timbang said Boehringer joined their international fact finding mission in Lianga and their pastoral Work with the lumad evacuees in Tandag City in 2015 and 2016.

“His detention is another case of repressive actions by the present government against people, from domestic and international community, who support the lumad people in their struggle for self-determination and for the protection of ancestral lands,” Timbang said in his Facebook post. “In no way this can help improve the image of the Philippines before the international community for having alarming high record of human rights violations.” (

Erratum: The headline was changed from “Australian human rights defender blacklisted, detained at Manila airport” to Australian human rights defender blacklisted, held at Manila airport.” While Mr. Gil Boehringer is held in custody by the Bureau of Immigration, he is not imprisoned in a detention facility.

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