Korean groups call for a stop to the continuing extrajudicial killings

and abductions in the Philippines

 

Seoul, Korea

April 29, 2008

 

 

 

Representatives of various groups in Korea staged a picket rally in front of the Philippine Embasy in Seoul to call attention to the continuing cases of extrajudicial killings and abductions in the Philippines. The Arroyo regime and the military must immediately put a stop to the perpetration of these crimes.

 

Groups include: Imagination for International Solidarity (IFIS), All Together (TAHAMKE), MYNBYUN-Lawyers for a Democratic Society, Migrants' Trade Union, Korean House for International Solidarity (KHIS), People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD), KASAMMAKO-Migrante Korea, Asian Bridge
 

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Photos courtesy of KASAMMAKO-Migrante Korea


Press Statement

The Arroyo regime and the Philippine Military must stop immediately the killings and violence against the people!

It has been 2 years since the extra-judicial arrest of peasant activists of Cavite, Philippines, Mr Q. Sarmiento and his 4 colleagues on 28 April 2006. They are still under detention on fabricated charges all this while. Nevertheless, what has happened to Mr Sarmiento and his colleagues is only part of the violent and oppressive measures taken by the Arroyo regime and the junta throughout the Philippines. We denounce the Arroyo regime and the junta's oppression against the people.

After being kidnapped by armed policemen in plain clothes, Mr Sarmiento and his colleagues were forcefully examined and tortured at police stations and military bases. The Philippine police opened a press point where it announced that Mr Sarmiento and his colleagues were members of the New People's Army, a Philippine armed communist group, and that they had threatened the government. Moreover, it additionally charged Mr Sarmiento for attempting to assassinate soldiers, in order to justify the undeserved arrest and detention. As the evidence showing a connection between them and the New People's Army was fabricated only after the arrest, families and activists of Mr Sarmiento and his colleagues have been petitioning the Ministry of Justice for reexamining the case. However, the petition remains pending so far since September 2006, and Mr Sarmiento and his colleagues are still in jail waiting for courses repeated over and over again for 2 years.

Groundless arrests, detention, and tortures are widespread in the Philippines against workers, peasants, students, religious leaders, journalists, intellectuals, and civil activists, such as Mr Sarmiento and his colleagues. On 19 April 2008, armed policemen in plain clothes and the army showed up at Mr Satur Ocamp's home and threatened him, the leader of Bayan Muna which is one of the Philippine's social groups. In 2007, a warrant had been served on him on a charge of murder. On 28 January 2008, the executive director of the Philippine Peasant Movement, Mr Echanis, got arrested, charged with 15 murder cases. As a matter of fact, the warrant issued for Mr Randall Echanis' arrest was the same as that served on Mr Satur Ocampo in 2007. Such exorbitant arresting and detaining practices by the police should never take place nor be tolerated in a constitutional state.

Besides such extra-judicial arrests, the Philippine people are seriously threatened with the killings and missing in which the police and the junta are involved. According to the report of a Philippine human rights organization, up to 900 activists have been murdered since the establishment of the Arroyo regime in 2001. Since 2006, a single week has barely passed without reports on murder, and only during January and February this year, 13 activists have been murdered and 2 gone missing. Philippine social groups and international human rights organizations have strongly demanded that Philippine government stop such oppression and punish those that are responsible, yet the government has shown nothing more than mere gestures and no wonder the threat imposed on activists has not diminished.

The government report of the Philippines, which was submitted before the Universal Periodic Review of the UNHRC in April this year, emphasized the killings and missing of activists as the most urgent problem in the Philippines and stated that the government was taking measures to send the accused in court and prevent such killings. However, only 2 murder cases of activists have been forwarded to court so far since 2001. The ‘measures’ that the Philippine government listed in its report have not been properly put in practice and amounted to nothing more than stopgap measures for easing public criticism at home and abroad.

The Philippine government alleged in its report that the number of activist killings have decreased in 2007. Even if the government's report states the fact, it is only that the killings are less frequent than before, not that they have completely ceased. Thus, the intensity of the threat to life imposed on Philippine activists does not differ from the past at all. In solidarity with the Philippine people that are doomed to living in the threat of murder and violence, we strongly demand that the Philippine government take following measures.

* Philippine government stop immediately the killings, violence and the oppression of human rights against the people!

* The Philippine government conduct thorough examination and reveal the real facts of the oppression of human rights including killings and violence!

* The Philippine government adopt immediate and effective measures to stop any more killings and violence!



29 April 2008

Imagination for International Solidarity (IFIS), All Together (TAHAMKE), MYNBYUN-Lawyers for a Democratic Society, Migrants' Trade Union, Korean House for International Solidarity (KHIS), People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD), KASAMMAKO-Migrante Korea, Asian Bridge
 

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