For Immediate Release
May 8, 2009
Reference: Katrina Abarcar, Katarungan: Center for Peace, Justice, and Human Rights in the Philippines firstname.lastname@example.org
Alston’s Upcoming Report Gives Filipino-American Human Rights Advocates Justification to Ramp Up Pressure on Philippine Government
Washington, DC – Recent news that Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions, believes the Philippine Government has failed to institute the substantive reforms he recommended to address extrajudicial killings and other human rights abuses in the country is the evidence that US Congress needs to strengthen the past conditions it placed military aid to the Philippines.
According to Katrina Abarcar, Coordinator of Katarungan: Center for Peace, Justice, and Human Rights in the Philippines. “In fact, we have basis to demand all US military aid and training to the Philippines be cut until the widespread problems extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, illegal arrests and politically motivated prosecutions of activists is indisputably solved.”
In a 2007 “colloquy” delivered by Senator Boxer (D-CA) as the Senate deliberated on US military aid to the Philippines, she stated:
I am very pleased that Senator Leahy has included language in the Senate State Department and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill that fences $2 million of military assistance on the condition that the Secretary of State certifies that the Philippine Government is implementing the recommendations of the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions… Senator Leahy, if the Philippine government fails to meet the three conditions contained in this act, will you work with me to place additional limitations on future U.S. military assistance to the Philippines?
Senator Leahy (D-VT) responded with, “I will consider additional limitations on future U.S. military assistance if the Philippine government fails to adequately address this issue.”
“We hope that the offices of the good Senators Leahy and Boxer will encourage their colleagues to support them in following through with this warning,” said Ms. Abarcar. “In recent months, despite the Philippine Government’s claims, we have noted indications of a resurgence in killings and other human rights abuses and are particularly anticipating increased violence with the 2010 Philippine elections on the horizon.”
As a response Katarungan will be convening an “Emergency Summit on Human Rights in the Philippines” in Washington, DC on June 6. It aims to gather the US-based organizations, institutions, networks and individuals that have been advocating for the victims of human rights abuses in the Philippines since the human rights crisis gained international attention several years back. It also seeks to build on the gains of the Ecumenical Conference on Human Rights in the Philippines and the historic Congressional Hearing chaired by Senator Boxer (D-CA) in 2007 and identify effective ways to put increased pressure on the Arroyo administration to stop human rights abuses.##