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Home Columns Dissenting Opinion The UNHR Council Must Pursue the RP to End Extrajudicial Killings and Disappearances
The UNHR Council Must Pursue the RP to End Extrajudicial Killings and Disappearances PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - Dissenting Opinion
Tuesday, 10 June 2008 22:13

Philippine UPR Watch Reiterates its call to the UNHR Council to pursue RP to totally end Extrajudicial Killings and Disappearances in the Philippines

 

In an oral intervention delivered during the consideration of the UPR report on the Philippines on June 10, at the 8th session of the UN Human Rights Council, the Philippine UPR Watch assailed the Philippine National Report for its silence on the adoption of the recommendation of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions, Philip Alston.  The intervention read by Dr. Edita T. Burgos. She is the mother of missing activist Jonas Burgos. It urged the United Nations to encourage the Philippines to abide by its pledges and commitments and implement the recommendations of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

 


The Philippine UPR Watch maintained that the reduction in the number of victims of killings is the result of public outcry and international outrage. 

 

Editor's Note: The Philippine UPR Watch is an alliance of the following causes and concerns: KARAPATAN, Hustisya, Desaparecidos, National Council of Churches in the Philippines, BAYAN, IBON Foundation, Bayan Muna, the IPHR-Monitor and the GMA Watch. Professor Sison sent to this website the press release of the Philippine UPR Watch.

The group also raised the query to the Philippine Mission whether the government has adopted the changes to the counter-insurgency program proposed by the UNSR Philip Alston. It elaborated that one of the recommendations of Alston was to have a change in the counter-insurgency program being waged by the government especially since the said program is identified by the Special Rapporteur as one of the causes that engender the killings and disappearances.  It also wanted to clarify what the state's actions will be to maintain the so-called "momentum on the extrajudicial killings" that is one of the commitments declared to the Council by the Philippine Mission. 

 

Further, Dr. Burgos said that impunity continues, citing the recent case of  Pastor Rodel Canja who was abducted and subjected to mental torture in an attempt to force him to declare his colleague, Pastor Berlin Guerrero, abducted one year earlier, as a member of the Communist Party.  She also cited the case of her disappeared son, Jonas, who remains to be missing after more than a year of search despite availing of all legal remedies and resorting to all legal venues open to her and her family.

 

In its statement, the Philippine UPR Watch also thanked the states that raised serious questions and recommendations to end extrajudicial killings, disappearances and other human rights violations in the country during the April UPR on the Philippines conducted by the UNHRC meeting as a working group.  At that time, states were only allowed to comment on the Philippine national report.

 

The statement of the group was supported by the Commission of Churches on International Affairs of the World Council of Churches (WCC CCIA) and the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL).


Editor’s Note: Here is the latest update from TIME magazine about the case of the abducted Jonas Burgos:

 

The Philippines' Disappearing Dissidents

 

http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1813070,00.html


 

The Philippine UPR Watch was also supported by the members of Migrante-Switzerland, some of whom witnessed the session on the UPR on the Philippines and listened to the oral intervention of Mrs. Edita Burgos.###


* This is the link to the UN webcast video or Mrs. Burgos' oral intervention (http://www.un.org/webcast/unhrc/archive.asp?go=080610#pm). Please click the 2nd link on video archive, then scroll down.  Mrs. Burgos is listed at Commission of Churches on International Affairs of the World Council of Churches.  Click English.

 

UN Human Rights Council 8th Session

Item 6: Consideration of UPR Reports – Philippines

Tuesday, 10 June 2008 

As delivered by Dr. Edita Burgos

 

Joint Statement on behalf of the Commission of Churches on Interantional Affairs of the World Council of Churches (CCIA WCC) and the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL)

Mr. President:

 

We thank the World Council of Churches' Commission of Churches on International Affairs (WCC CCIA) and the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) for their support to this statement.  
 
We also take this opportunity to thank the States that raised serious questions and recommendations during the UPR on the Philippines in April. The continuing concern of the international community on extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations in the Philippines is reassuring.  Such concern dispelled the glossy picture projected by the Philippine National Report through its reporting of formal recognition of basic rights and lavish citation of laws and commitments. 
 
During the April UPR, it was stated that the preparation of the Report was done through a supposed "consultative and participatory process" to fulfill the Government's pledge of "promoting constructive engagement of the Council with civil society, ensuring opportunities to gainfully contribute to the work of the Council."  We maintain that much leaves to be desired in such a process.
 
In relation to the outcome of the review, we note that the Philippine delegation did not indicate any adoption of the recommendations of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary execution especially on the changes in the counter-insurgency program being implemented by the state and which the Special Rapporteur noted as one of the causes of the killings and disappearances. The filing of cases in some and the conviction of four persons among almost a thousand cases do not negate the fact that not a single military person was convicted of such violations largely attributed to the militarist approach of the Government to the issue of counterinsurgency in the Philippines.   


The reduction in the number of victims of killings is the result of public outcry and international outrage. Yet, the impunity continues. A recent case is that of Pastor Rodel Canja who was abducted and subjected to mental torture in an attempt to force him to declare his colleague, Pastor Berlin Guerrero, abducted one year earlier and now detained on false charges, as a member of the communist party.  More than a year after my son's abduction, in spite of all legal remedies availed of, including the much-vaunted new remedy of the writ of amparo, I am still searching for my disappeared son, Jonas. 

Mr. President, in the outcome of the review, the Philippine delegation declared one of its commitments is to "maintain the momentum on addressing killings of activists and media professionals."

 

May we know what momentum is it saying and what actions it envisions to totally address the issue of killings and disappearances?

 

We respectfully urge this august body to encourage the Philippines to abide by its pledges and commitments and implement the recommendations of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. 
 
Thank you, Mr. President.

 



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Last Updated on Tuesday, 29 September 2009 14:35
 

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