By NICA HERNAEZ
Human rights groups denounced the illegal detention and deportation of Filipino-Swiss activist Edna Becher by Philippine immigration authorities on December 7.
On Dec. 7, Thursday evening, Becher arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 to celebrate the holidays with friends and relatives in the Philippines. However, she was detained by the immigration officer due to a blacklist status for alleged involvement in anti-government activities.
“The blacklisting and deportation of Becher is arbitrary, baseless and a vile act of political persecution,” Karapatan said in a statement.
“Becher, an activist from Anakbayan-Europe and also of Swiss nationality, has done nothing wrong and illegal against anyone, whether in her country of residence and much more in the country of her family roots. These acts also violate Becher’s freedom of association and freedom of movement.” the group added.
Belcher participated in protests during the visit of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. for the World Economic Forum and Universal Periodic Review of the Philippines in Switzerland.
Meanwhile, Migrante International called the incident “symptomatic of the continuing human rights crisis in the Philippines.”
“Edna’s detention and deportation shows that the Marcos Jr. administration has not learned the lessons of history. One of these is that no amount of government repression can silence Filipino youth and migrants who will persevere in their activism and fight back against, even oust, repressive regimes,” the group said.
According to Anakbayan, this is the first case of deportation of a Filipino activist from abroad under the Marcos Jr. regime.
Under the Duterte administration, many other foreign nationals, especially those who have been extending international solidarity for human and people’s rights issues in the Philippines, have suffered similar persecution. Among them were Australian missionary Sr. Patricia Fox (2018), Australian lawyer Gil Boehringer (2018), Giacomo Filibeck (2018) and Thomas Van Beersum (2013).
“Becher and many others should be removed from these blacklists and allowed to freely exercise their basic rights to visit their families or friends, to freely associate with organizations who conduct human rights advocacies, and to support calls for justice and accountability for human rights violations in the Philippines as forms of international solidarity” Karapatan stressed. (RTS, RVO)