RP Government/Ermita:

Lying big time at the UN Human Rights Council

 

Geneva, Switzerland

April 12, 2008    Updated: April 14, 2008     Updates April 15th

 

 

 

The Philippine UPR Watch denounced the outright lies that Executive Secretary Eduardo R. Ermita churned out in reporting to the United Nations Human Rights Council on the Philippine human rights record for the universal periodic review. His statement that “there is an open and vibrant democracy in the Philippines” and that the government is “a human rights defender” is the height of distortion and sends a chilling indication that impunity will continue to be the policy of the Arroyo regime.

 

Photos above show Marie Hilao-Enriquez and Karapatan legal counsel Atty. Edre Olalia with European friends holding a picket line at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland where the UN Human Rights Council holds an assembly.

 

Swiss friends from Bern join picket at the Palais des Nations

Rep. Teddy Casiño, Atty Edre Olalia and Fr. Rex Reyes, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines

 

In other words, the Philippine government's attempt to downplay the killings and disappearances and project the image that the situation was improving did not wash. In part through the efforts of the Philippine UPR Watch, the truth came out and the Arroyo government was held to account for its failures by the international community.

-- from the report of Bayan Muna Rep. Teodoro Casiño

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Photos courtesy of KARAPATAN
           
           

 

Ermita is lying!

Geneva, April 11 - The Philippine UPR Watch denounces the outright lies that Executive Secretary Eduardo R. Ermita has churned out in reporting to the United Nations Human Rights Council on the Philippine human rights record for the universal periodic review. His statement that “there is an open and vibrant democracy in the Philippines” and that the government is “a human rights defender” is the height of distortion and sends a chilling indication that impunity will continue to be the policy of the Arroyo regime.

Ermita’s statements were a callous disregard to the fact that more than a dozen countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada, took the Philippine government to task for its failure to address the extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, especially in the prosecution of perpetrators. His statements ignored the fact that several countries also scored the Philippine government for its failure to address equally important issues such as the protection of migrant workers, the trafficking of women and children, and corruption. If the Philippine National Report was that good, the Philippines should be a paradise, whose people need not line up for rice, seek jobs abroad and would not be named one of the most corrupt countries in Asia. If the Report was that honest, countries would not have raised questions on the foregoing which are the core issues surrounding human rights violations in the Philippines.

In saying that the Philippine government under Mrs. Macapagal-Arroyo, given what it achieved and what it seeks to do, is a “human rights defender,” Secretary Ermita arrogated to the Philippines what it does
not rightfully deserve. It is the height of hypocrisy and an insult to the thousands of victims and their relatives who have been denied justice. That he had the gall and the temerity to project before the international community that the Arroyo government was also responsible for the legal remedies for human rights violations victims and would-be victims shows how the Arroyo government has mastered the art of lying.

What is true is that the Philippine government cannot escape the fact that countries are indeed monitoring closely the human rights situation in the Philippines. The countries saw through the report. They saw the deception and the brazen attempts to make a mockery of the UN mechanisms and processes such as the Universal Periodic Review.

What is also true is that were it not for the continuing vigilance of the Filipino people, the Arroyo government would go on lying and covering up for its crimes against the people. Were it not for the people telling the world what the real story in the Philippines is, others would likely fall into the government’s deception.

 

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Missing

 

(for Jonas “Jay” Burgos)

BY MARYJANE ALEJO
Posted by Bulatlat
Vol. VIII, No. 9, April 6-12, 2008

There are times
When a truant boy gets failing marks
Because he is always
Missing the bus.

There are times
When lovers quarrel
Because the other is
Missing the point.

There are times
When a machine malfunctions
Because of some
Missing parts.

There are times
When a revolution fails
Because the leadership is
Missing the target.

But these are the times
When someone so dear is missing
And we are heartbreakingly missing
Our beloved Jonas.

28 March 2008

 

Inquirer Editorial April 14, 2008

Alternative reality

Apparently, the human rights situation in the Philippines is just lovely—if Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita is to be believed. The former general and ex-congressman has set great store by the applause his presentation received at the Universal Periodic Review of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva the other day.

FULL STORY

           

 

STATEMENT TO THE MEDIA
Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casino
April 12, 2008


RP made to account for killings, disappearances in UN

My trip to Geneva, Switzerland as part of the Philippine UPR Watch delegation culminated yesterday in a picket-protest in front of the United Nations headquarters.

After listening to Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita deliver the Philippine National Report to the UN Human Rights Council, I joined some 30 Filipinos and Swiss citizens who had put up a picketline right outside the UN gates to dramatize our people's continuing quest for an end to the killings, disappearances and the impunity by which human rights atrocities are committed in the Philippines.

The Philippine report, presented by no less than Sec. Ermita with his extraordinarily large contingent of bureaucrats flown in from Manila, was a self-serving, selective and totally one-sided depiction of the Philippine human rights situation. The aim of the report was to depict the Arroyo administration as a vanguard defender of human rights and good governance in the country.

I was particularly flabbergasted to hear Sec. Ermita boast of the government's superlative gains in fighting graft and corruption in the Philippines. I almost fell from my seat listening to him expound on government efforts to strengthen the Ombudsman and Sandiganbayan, the success of its electronic procurement system, and effectivity of its lifestyle checks. In the light of the latest swine scam and the NBN-ZTE deal, this is chutzpah of the highest degree, inspired by no less than a cheating, lying and stealing President.

Fortunately, not all countries took this line hook and sinker. At least 16 countries expressed concern on the extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances and, in typical diplomatic language used in the UN, practically told the Philippines it was not doing enough on the matter, especially with regards to the recommendations of UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions Philip Alston.

Other issues of great concern to the international community were the violations of the rights of Filipino migrant workers and those of women and children.

In other words, the Philippine government's attempt to downplay the killings and disappearances and project the image that the situation was improving did not wash. In part through the efforts of the Philippine UPR Watch, the truth came out and the Arroyo government was held to account for its failures by the international community.

I am leaving Geneva with the knowledge that the world is watching the Philippines and is in solidarity with its quest for truth, justice and accountability.####

 

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People's UPR in Geneva

◄ Photos from the  people's UPR held by the Philippine UPR Watch and sponsored by the World Council of Churches. The event was attended by 35 representatives from 13 NGOs (international and Geneva-based NGOs) and Ms. Jennifer Kraft, Philippine Desk Officer of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

 

From Bulatlat:

 

■   Reps of Aid Donor Countries, 13 Others Question RP Rights Record in Geneva

■   Behind Bars: The Travails of a Political Prisoner

■   As UN’s Universal Periodic Review Draws Near: Kin of Victims, Rights Groups Debunk RP Gov’t Report

■   Kin, Supporters Mark 100th Day of Burgos Disappearance

■   Jonas Burgos: The Son Makes the Headlines, Too

■   Torture Victim Identifies Military Officer as Captor During CA Hearing

 

 Ms. Baumann, Rep. Teddy Casiño and Jonathan Sta. Rosa of KARAPATAN

 Ms. Jennifer Kraft, Philippine Desk Officer of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

 Ms. Elena Ivory of the World Council of Churches (WCC)

 

NDF Slams Ermita’s Appointment as Head of Rights Team in UN

“What business does a notorious human rights violator, the chief butcher of Arroyo, have speaking on human rights and to the UNHRC no less?” said Fidel Agcaoili, head of the Human Rights Monitoring Committee of the NDFP, in reaction to the appointment of Eduardo Ermita as head of the government delegation to the United Human Rights Council for the Universal Periodic Review of the Philippines in April.

BY BULATLAT
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
Vol. VIII, No. 9, April 6-12, 2008

“What business does a notorious human rights violator, the chief butcher of Arroyo, have speaking on human rights and to the UNHRC no less?”

Fidel Agcaoili, Chairperson of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Human Rights Monitoring Committee, could not help but ask, after Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo announced the appointment of Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita as head of the government’s 44-man delegation to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the Phillippines, which is set on April 11.

“His upcoming report to the UNHRC can only consist of lies regarding how the killings have stopped through the government’s supposed efforts. The fact is that the Arroyo regime has temporarily reduced the killings because of the people's outrage all over the world. It is clear that no military, police officer or killer asset of the regime has been convicted for any of the killings,” Agcaoili said in a statement given to the media April 5.

Agcaoili said Ermita’s record as the pointguard of the U.S. and the GRP’s mastermind in orchestrating the gross and systematic campaign of human rights violations and political repression is a vicious insult and attack against the victims of human rights violations and their families.

“Ermita’s appointment as delegation head speaks volumes about the Arroyo government’s contempt for the Universal Periodic Review and the UN Human Rights Council as well as its desperation in trying to cover-up its bloody human rights record,” said the NDF rights committee head.

Agcaoili called Ermita a “rascal” for being a notorious human rights violator and a psy-war expert. “The government intends to bamboozle the UNHRC utilizing Ermita’s notorious psywar expertise, and all efforts must be made to expose this,” he said.

Agcaoili pointed out that being the chairman of the Anti-Terrorist Council of the Macapagal-Arroyo regime, Ermita stands only next to the bogus president as the one most responsible for implementing Oplan Bantay Laya I and II.

Ermita is also chairman of the Presidential Human Rights Committee which has done nothing but whitewash the atrocities of the regime. He heads the Internal Security Cluster of the Cabinet, and is the head of the Presidential Anti-Terrorism Task Force.

“His past is as checkered as his current career,” Agcaoili said pointing out that Ermita was with the Philippine Civic Action Group in Vietnam from 1965-68, coordinating with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in implementing Operation Phoenix.

Operation Phoenix was a bloody campaign implemented by the U.S and the South Vietnamese government from 1965-72. It was directed at demolishing the political infrastructure of the Vietcong by “neutralizing” suspected Vietcong cadres. This resulted in tens of thousands of assassinations of suspected VC cadres. William Colby, the head of the CIA station in Saigon then, admitted in 1973 that 20,587 Vietnamese were killed as a result of Operation Phoenix.

The president’s executive secretary was also head of civil-military relations during the time of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos and became deputy Chief of Staff for Operations of the AFP during the Aquino regime.►►►

9 April 2008
Philippines-Canada Task Force on Human Rights (PCTFHR)

CANADIANS HORRIFIED THAT RABID HUMAN RIGHTS
VIOLATOR WILL ADDRESS UNITED NATIONS

As concerned and peace-loving Canadians, we are shocked at the announcement that Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita will address the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva, Switzerland this week regarding the present human rights situation in the Philippines.

Ermita, as head of the Presidential Anti-Terrorism Task Force and as Chairman of the Anti-Terrorism Council, is one of the chief architects of the bloody military counter-insurgency campaign that has resulted in more than 889 documented cases of extra-judicial killings, 200 cases of enforced disappearances and the displacement of over one million people.

Under the guise of fighting 'terrorism', the Arroyo administration's Oplan Bantay Laya (Operation Freedom Watch) counter-insurgency program has wreaked havoc on the lives of ordinary Filipinos. In its desperate attempt to crush the revolutionary people's movement struggling for genuine national and social liberation, the Arroyo regime has callously embroiled almost the entire nation in its fascist campaign. President Arroyo’s government has been blamed for this sordid human rights record by no less than the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions Philip Alston, as well as by Amnesty International.

Mr. Ermita has no credibility to speak before the U.N. about human rights while the killings and human rights violations continue unabated in the country. Just last week, another labour leader, Gerry Cristobal was tragically assassinated after two previous attempts on his life. In fact, here in Canada, Dr. Constancio Claver, a leader of a progressive political party called Bayan Muna (People First) has applied for refugee status after surviving an assassination attempt two years ago by government agents that claimed the life of his wife.
 

As Canadian citizens, we decry the use of our taxpayers’ money to support the fascist government of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
 

We demand that Canadian bilateral aid to the Philippines should instead be directed to organizations that are legitimately working for genuine human rights. We vow to continue to strengthen genuine stronger people-to-people solidarity with the Filipino people in their struggle for a just and lasting peace. We call on all Canadians to educate themselves about the root causes of the human rights violations in the Philippines and work concretely in solidarity campaigns to expose Canada’s complicity in these human rights violations.
--
British Columbia Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (BCCHRP)
Member of the Philippines-Canada Task Force for Human Rights (PCTFHR)
c/o Kalayaan Centre, 451 Powell Street, Vancouver, B.C., Canada, V6A 1G7
Phone/Fax: 604.215.1905 | http://www.kalayaancentre.net
To sign onto on-line URGENT ACTIONS please visit: http://www.psacbc.com/philippines/

--
International League of Peoples' Struggles (ILPS)
Participating Organizations in Canada
ilps_canada@shawcable.com || http://ilps2005.tripod.com
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Agcaoili, a political detainee during martial law, said this was a period when lawyers and congressional candidates of Partido ng Bayan were assassinated in the same pattern as the extrajudicial killings are being carried out today. Ermita, Agcaoili said, is the original organizer of hooded motorcycle-riding murderers who victimize legal activists.
 

Agcaoili said Ermita’s appointment as delegation head exposes the cruel and callous character of the Arroyo regime. “This is a grave insult and attack against the victims and their families. Ermita’s mission to the UPR is clear: as head butcher of the Arroyo regime, he will deny the regime’s command responsibility and misdirect criminal culpability for the extrajudicial killings and lobby for the Philippines’ continued inclusion in the UNCHR. His appointment as head of the GRP delegation to the UPR makes a complete mockery of the process of the review,” he said. Bulatlat

 

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UPDATES, APRIL 15th

 

KARAPATAN * Hustisya * Desaparecidos * National Council of Churches in the Philippines * BAYAN * IBON Foundation

Bayan Muna * IPHR-Monitor * GMA Watch

 

Stop the lying! Stop the Killings!

 

Following the ceremonial approval of the Draft Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on the Philippines, the Philippine UPR Watch continues to be outraged by the unrepentant and self-delusional claims by the Philippine government of its human rights record before the international community.

 

In his closing statement following the submission of the Draft Report, DFA Undersecretary Enrique Manalo, co-head of the Philippine delegation, said the Philippines “fully engaged” civil society in the preparation of the Philippine National Report (PNR). He also said the high level delegation from the Philippines speaks well of the seriousness of the Philippine government on human rights and that there are “clear manifestations” that the Philippines is a “human rights advocate and defender”. It again paid lip service to fulfill so-called voluntary commitments concerning women and children, extrajudicial killings and the needs of the poor.

 

Nothing could be further from the truth. The so-called engagement with civil society was perfunctory and smacks of tokenism. The high level Philippine delegation was a platoon of bureaucrats sent by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in its damage-control and face-saving efforts. Secretary Ermita himself was not ready to answer questions from the Missions. The PNR is not an indication of the Philippine government’s resolve to stop human rights violations in the Philippines. The report is a series of generalized statements primarily to appease the international community.

 

Earlier, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita deceived the Filipino people by reporting that the Philippine National Report (PNR) was well applauded at the UNHRC session. What his account did not say is that the applause was initiated and came mostly from the rest of the Filipino bureaucrats who formed part of Ermita’s 40-member team.  It was initiated and a cheap self-congratulatory stunt, scandalous and self-serving.

 

As the UPR on the Philippines winds up, we thank the Missions who have raised the issue of extrajudicial killings and disappearances, the welfare of migrant workers, corruption, the trafficking of women and the rights of children. While the Philippine report says the number of killings has gone down and that the government has instituted mechanisms for the protection of all human rights, it could neither hide nor disguise the truth that the human rights violations still continue with impunity and that no perpetrator has really been convicted. The concerns and questions raised by at least sixteen countries is an indication that the world is watching the human rights situation in the Philippines.

 

We urge the UNHRC to be constructively critical, especially in the preparation of the final report in June during its 8th session. We call on NGOs, church group and people’s organizations to speak out against this deception peddled by the Philippine government. In the name of the victims of all forms of human right violations, we entreat the UNHRC to put to task the Philippine government for its responsibility and culpability.

 

The Philippine UPR watch reiterates its call that the Philippine government is unworthy of a seat in the United Nations Human Rights Council. The responsibility of the state to protect every citizen continues to be totally negated with repressive government policies under the guise of the war on terrorism that curtail legitimate dissent.

 

For as long as the Philippine government is in a “state of denial” over its responsibility for human rights abuses, continues to paint rosy pictures to cover-up its crimes against the people and deceive the community of nations, the Filipino people will be vigilant and continue to expose the government’s rottenness. One killing is one too many. #

 

Reference:

 

Fr. Rex B. Reyes, Jr.

Head of Delegation

Philippine UPR Watch

(063) 918 9447538

 

Marie Hilao-Enriquez

Secretary-General

KARAPATAN

(063) 917 8176274

 

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■   NUPL: Philippine report to the UPR: Failing grade for impunity

■   Ibon: Ermita presentation fails to represent Filipinos' take on RP state of rights

 

Members of Philippine UPR Watch and Migrante International inside the Session Hall of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Palais des Nations during the Approval of the Draft Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on the Philippines

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