Bu-lat-lat (boo-lat-lat) verb: to search, probe, investigate, inquire; to unearth facts

Volume 2, Number 33              September 22 - 28,  2002            Quezon City, Philippines

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Filipino and Canadian Human Rights Organizations Demand Justice at Dutch Consulate

By the B.C. Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (BCCHRP)


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Chanting “Justice for Jose Maria Sison!” “U.S. imperialist! Number one terrorist!” and “Don’t believe the anti-terrorist hype!  Protect Sison’s human rights!” over 30 overseas Filipinos and concerned Canadians rallied to collectively express their outrage at the Dutch consulate in Vancouver yesterday.

The rallyists brought forward the urgent case of Professor Jose Maria Sison, a Filipino political refugee in the Netherlands, who is under political persecution since the Dutch government branded him a “terrorist.”  Following the August 9, 2002 announcement by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell that the U.S. placed the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People's Army (CPP/NPA) on its list of so-called Foreign Terrorist Organizations, the Dutch government quickly answered the call of the U.S. and ordered that the bank accounts of the CPP, NPA, and, Professor Sison (current chief political consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and founding chair of the CPP) be frozen.  The Dutch government also proposed the inclusion of the CPP, NPA and Professor Sison on the European Union list of "terrorists.”

Now, Professor Sison’s bank account is frozen and his rightful social benefits terminated, effectively robbing him and his family of the basic necessities of life, such as food, shelter, and health.  There are threats that Professor Sison, who is a recognized and legitimate political refugee, will be unjustly extradited to the U.S.

Overseas Filipino workers, women, and youth, alongside members of the Mexican, Palestinian, South Asian, and First Nations communities, as well as Canadian workers and human rights organizations demanded that the Dutch government defy the U.S. government’s wish to suppress and silence Professor Sison.

“The political persecution of Professor Sison by the U.S., Dutch, and Canadian governments is an explicit attempt to limit the Filipino people’s democratic right to organize and express their aspirations for national liberation,” asserted Beth Grayer of Grassroots Women in front of the Dutch consulate.

The rallyists took their concerns straight to the Dutch consulate office doors where they were told by intercom that they could not enter.  The group sent a small delegation to present the petition demanding Professor Sison’s legitimate rights be protected.  A staff member of the consulate assured the delegation that the petition and concerns would be transmitted to the Dutch Consul General in Vancouver Y. Coryn and the Prime Minister of Netherlands. She also asked that the delegation inform the rallyists who were continuing their demonstration on the street.

The overseas Filipino community and its supporters vowed that they would continue to mount pressure on the Dutch government until they retract their discriminatory treatment of Professor Sison.  As stated by Aiyanas Ormond of the Bus Riders’ Union, “The stand for the human rights of Professor Sison, is a minimum stand for what democracy and human rights we do have and against mounting reaction and the specter of fascism.”

Filipino and human rights organizations in Canada plan to heighten their campaign to expose and oppose the U.S.-led political witch-hunt that is trying to destroy the Filipino people’s legitimate aspirations of genuine freedom, democracy and a just and lasting peace.

For more information or interviews, please call the B.C. Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (BCCHRP) at (604) 215-1905.

September 17, 2002  Bulatlat.com

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