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Vol. VI, No. 33      Sept. 24 - 30, 2006      Quezon City, Philippines








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Political Killings in RP Draw Int’l Condemnation

From Europe to the Philippines, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo received relentless criticisms for the unabated extrajudicial killings under her regime. 


New York activists brandish pictures of slain Philippine activists during the Sept. 21 protest against political killings

From Europe to the Philippines, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo received relentless criticisms for the unabated extrajudicial killings under her regime. 


During her recent trip to Europe, leaders of various countries expressed concern over the Arroyo government’s bad human rights record.

During her visit to Finland, President of Finland Tarja Halonen and Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja expressed their concern over the killings.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said that political killings in the Philippines were “a matter of concern” to the EC. Even before Arroyo left, EU ambassador to the Philippines Jan de Kok had already criticized the Arroyo regime for the spate of extrajudicial killings.

When Arroyo arrived in Brussels, Belgium on Sept. 12, protest actions were staged by Belgian, Dutch and Filipino activists. They held a rally at the Schuman Plaza fronting the European Commission building. 

Members of the Belgian and Flemish Parliaments Inga Verhaer and Eloi Glorieux were among those who joined the protests.

In Norway, activists lit candles beside sheets of paper with names of victims of extra-judicial killings in the Philippines

Earlier, France strongly called on the Philippines to lead Asian countries in ratifying a United Nations draft convention aimed at preventing abductions of political dissidents and promoting human rights. Charge d'Affaires Bernard Regnauld Fabre of the French Embassy in Manila said the UN Draft Convention on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance seeks to establish measures to prevent politically related kidnappings as well as bring justice to victims and their families.

From Europe, Arroyo flew to Hawaii.  Again, she was confronted with protests. Members of Anakbayan at the University of Hawaii and the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) -United States chapter led a picket outside the Filipino Community Center in Waipahu.

Other international groups who have expressed alarm over the human rights situation in the Philippines include the Geneva-based World Council of Churches, London-based Amnesty International, the Asian Human Rights Council in Hong Kong, the Fact-Finding Mission of Dutch and Belgian judges and lawyers, the United Church of Canada, and the Uniting Church of Australia, among others.

Sept. 21 actions

Condemnation from other countries did not end with Arroyo’s arrival in Manila on Sept. 18.

On the 34th anniversary of the declaration of martial law, Filipinos and other nationals across the United States, Europe and Asia held protest actions.

In the U.S., Filipinos and Americans staged picket rallies in front of the Philippine consulates in New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Hawaii, and Los Angeles.

Vigils were also held in North Carolina, Massachusetts.

In Vancouver, Canada, a protest rally was organized by Filipino-Canadians at the Philippine Consulate. Activities were also held in Montreal and Toronto.

Across Europe, citizens of the Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland, Norway and United Kingdom expressed their solidarity with the Filipino people.

In The Hague, political capital of the Netherlands, Dutch, Turkish and Filipino activists staged a picket in front of the Philippine embassy. In downtown Amsterdam, a demonstration was held at the Dam Square in front of the Queen’s Palace. 

A forum organized by the Rice and Rights Movement on the political killings was held Sept. 16 in Amsterdam. Speakers included Marie Hilao of Karapatan, Atty. Edre Olalia of the Public Interest Law Center and Counsels for the Advancement of Liberties (CODAL), and Gerrard Boot of the Lawyers for Lawyers, an Amsterdam-based group of lawyers that joined a human rights fact-finding mission to the Philippines. 

In Rome, Filipinos attended a mass the Chiesa Di Sant Alfonso (Redemptorist church) to remember and pray for the victims of martial law and the victims of political killings under the Arroyo government..

In Geneva, Filipino and Swiss human rights advocates trooped to the Philippine Mission. They were attending the 2nd Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. The human rights delegation from the Philippines also delivered a letter to the Philippine Mission to the UN regarding the human rights violations in the Philippines. 

Meanwhile, candles were lit in Oslo for victims of human rights violations in the Philippines. Filipino and Norwegian members of the Filipino Resource Center and members of Changemaker, Kalayaan, Amnesty International and the AKP (Norwegian Left Party) joined the activity in front of the Stortinget (Norwegian Parliament).

In London, members of the International League of People’s Struggle picketed the Philippine embassy along Palace Green Road.

Several countries across Asia and the Pacific also joined the Global Day of Action against Extrajudicial Killings in the Philippines.

In Sydney, Australia, migrant Filipinos held a picket at the Philippine Consulate. A candlelight vigil followed suit at the Town Hall. Protest actions were also held in Melbourne.

In his speech, Peter Murphy of the Philippines Australia Union Link, said, “The Philippines is now second only to Colombia for murders of union leaders, and second only to Iraq for murders of journalists.”

Murphy also called on the Australian government to review its $4.2 million annual aid to the Philippine military.

Moreover, an Australian senator said that the continuing detention of Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran is a sign of the Philippines’ “dying democracy.”

In an article published in Socialist Objective (v.18 n.2), Senator Gavin Marshall, Labor Senator for Victoria, wrote, "Most of us assume that democracy is alive and well in the Philippines, yet there are some very worrying signs that the Philippines is becoming once more a nation where the government can and will abuse its power and citizens.”

Marshall expressed concern over the mounting repression of progressive Philippine lawmakers such as Beltran, saying that "If the Parliamentarians cannot even feel safe in the Philippines, then what hope for ordinary citizens?"

In Jakarta, Indonesia, members of the Front Mahasiswa Nasional (FMN), Gerakan Rakyat Indonesia (GRI) and Aliansi Mahasiswa Papua (AMP) held a protest in front of the Philippines Embassy.

In Seoul, South Korea, Filipinos, Koreans, Bangladeshi, Nepali held a rally in front of the Philippine embassy. Filipino migrant organization KASAMMAKO spearheaded the activity. Seoul-based lawyers' group MINBYUN also joined the protest.

Lee Sang-hee, a member of MINBYUN, said, "Many Korean activists and innocent people were killed by our military regime, and so we feel that the Filipino people's problem is also our problem.”

In Pakistan, the All Pakistan Trade Union Federation (APTUF) held a demonstration in Lahore City.  Leaders of the APTUF also sent a letter to the High Commissioner of the Philippines in Islamabad. They called on the Filipino official to take immediate measures to stop the killings.

In Taiwan, members of Labor Rights Association, Human Rights Program and the students of Soochow University held a demonstration in front of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei.

Filipinos in Hongkong, Tokyo and Nagasaki in Japan also held similar actions. Bulatlat



© 2006 Bulatlat  Alipato Media Center

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