On International Human Rights Day:

Multisectoral groups demand justice for victims,

free all political prisoners, and end impunity

 

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December 10, 2011

 

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Photo by Loi Manalansan of AGHAM-Nasyunal
   
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Photos by  Arkibong Bayan, CNS-CSSP, Kathleen Dy, Loi Manalansan, Sarah Raymundo, 
Tolyts Taldo Sosmeña and UPLB Zoom Out as indicated by the filenames
           
Manila:  Aquino III's human rights record
shows 64 victims of extra-judicial killings... and more ▼
     
           
     
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Groups march to Mendiola to mark Human Rights Day
News Release
December 10, 2011
 

Human rights defenders led by Karaptan and the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) today marched to the historic Mendiola bridge in observance of International Human Rights Day. For the past four days, the roads leading Mendiola were the site of violent clashes as police prevented protesters from reaching the protest site. It would be the first time the groups would reach the protest site after the recent clashes with police.
 

“Despite the praises heaped by the United State Embassy on the Philippine government for so-called achievements in human rights, the sad reality is that many of the abuses that happened during the past administration are continuing today,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.
 

“Even sadder is the fact that not a single criminal case has been filed by the government against any of the notorious human rights violators, past and present. There is zero justice, zero accountability for human rights. The government puts up a tough façade versus GMA’s corruption but has done practically nothing to achieve justice for human rights victims,” he added.
 

From 2001 to 2011, only 1% of the 364 cases of extrajudicial killings resulted in the conviction of perpetrators, according to an independent audit by litigator and legal researcher Atty. Al Parreno.
Bayan reiterated its call for the jailing of former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and for the release of some 365 political prisoners nationwide. “Many of the political prisoners now were arrested during the time of Arroyo. GMA is still lucky so to speak, since her current state is infinitely better than the state of our political prisoners languishing in jails nationwide,” Reyes said.
 

“The ridiculous thing is that this government does not seem to recognize the existence of these 365 political prisoners, he added.
 

Bayan wants Arroyo to suffer the same fate as former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori who was handed down a 25-year sentence for human rights violations in 2009.
Facebook “intel”
 

The group also decried the recent violent dispersal of protesters that happened during the observance of Human Rights Week.
 

“The Philippine National Police and the government, acting on so-called intelligence reports they gathered from Facebook and social networking sties, decided to put up an elaborate security plan to thwart the student camp-out in Mendiola. Their paranoia over the Facebook posts resulted in the massive deployment of police, some even coming from regions outside Manila, and eventually, to the violent clashes we’ve seen the past few days,” Reyes said.
 

“We wonder why the Commission on Human Rights has been so eerily silent over these violent dispersals as well as other gross human rights violations happening under the Aquino government,” he added.
 

The CHR is headed by former Akbayan representative Eta Rosales, a known political ally of the Aquino administration.
 

US hypocrisy
 

Bayan also slammed the US government for statements praising itself and the Philippine government as being “staunch allies” in promoting human rights.
 

“Coming from a country that has embarked on the most heinous human rights violations in history, the praise by the US government for the Philippine government is utterly meaningless. The US does not promote human rights when it bombs sovereign nations, sponsors dictators and curtails freedoms in its own backyard,” Reyes said.###

 

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International Human Rights Day
News Release
December 10, 2011

GMA is P-Noy's smokescreen for rights violations under his administration - Karapatan

“PRESIDENT NOYNOY AQUINO conveniently uses GMA as a shield by endlessly harping on her crimes and wrongdoings as a subterfuge to evade taking responsibility for human rights violations committed by his administration and its inability to solve any of the country’s basic problems. No amount of political manipulation or attempt to project himself as a protagonist in the quest for justice against GMA can dispel the truth that he continues Arroyo’s legacy of state terror through Oplan Bayanihan.”

Jigs Clamor, Deputy Secretary General of Karapatan, made the statement as human rights and people’s organizations led by Karapatan and Bayan marched today from Blumentritt to Mendiola to commemorate International Human Rights Day.

“GMA has been a convenient smokescreen to blur the spotlight on P-Noy. For instance, Malacañang benefits from all the fuss about Arroyo’s transfer to the presidential suite of the veteran’s hospital because it hides the fact that his government has been sorely remiss in promptly prosecuting and putting Arroyo to jail,” Clamor explained.

Karapatan stressed that Noynoy Aquino has to stop hiding behind Gloria and face his own accountabilities to the people, especially the human rights violations committed by his security forces.

In its 2011 Year-End Human Rights Report, Karapatan documented 64 cases of extrajudicial killings, 343 illegal arrests, 51 detainees tortured, 4376 victims of forced evacuation and 6108 made homeless through demolition in urban poor communities. All these just in 16 months of Noynoy Aquino’s incumbency. (see table)
The violations result from the Aquino government’s counter-insurgency Operational Plan (Oplan) Bayanihan, which is patterned after the U.S. COIN Guide and partially funded by American military aid. It speaks of “peace and development” but employs terror upon the people through gross rights violations and intensified militarization of rural and urban communities.

Karapatan said that all over the country, military operations victimize men and women among the workers, peasants, indigenous peoples, Moro people and those who assert their right to land and ancestral domain, and fight to protect the country’s natural resources from extractive industries such as mining.

“The days leading to the commemoration of International Human Rights Day showed how legitimate people’s protests such as those held on Mendiola by the youth, students, workers and urban poor dwellers were met with brutality because Malacañang was terrified of a Wall Street-inspired “occupy” action,” he further said

Jail GMA and Palparan, release all political prisoners

The End Impunity Alliance stressed that GMA and her favorite “butcher” Jovito Palparan should be jailed without any special treatment. “Without question, we want GMA and her military henchmen prosecuted, jailed and made to answer for their human rights violations. This is to give justice to those who were wronged,” added Cristina Palabay, the convenor of the alliance.

“There’s a stark difference between how this government treats GMA and how the political prisoners, who were arrested because of their political beliefs, languish in jail based on insufficient evidence and trumped-up criminal charges. Many political prisoners, especially the elderly and sick, are kept in congested cells making them more vulnerable to diseases. In fact, two have recently died due to lack of medical attention." Palabay added.

“We reiterate our demand to put GMA and Palparan in jail. This will also put an end to P-Noy’s diversionary tactics. It has been a year and a half, he should start taking responsibility for his government’s actions and puppetry to a foreign boss,” concluded Palabay. ###

Reference:
Jigs Clamor, Karapatan Deputy Secretary General, 09209466210
Cristina Palabay, End Impunity Alliance Convenor, 09175003879

 

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KARAPATAN-SOUTHERN TAGALOG
BAYAN-SOUTHERN TAGALOG

PRESS RELEASE
9 December 2011
Email: karapatan.st@gmail.com / bayan.st@gmail.com
References: Glen Malabanan (09185682090) Leo “XL” Fuentes (09278066248)
DeputySecretary General, KARAPATAN-ST Secretary General, BAYAN-ST

Southern Tagalog HR advocates call: “Put Arroyo behind bars!”
Troop to VMMC, remind Arroyo’s bloody HR record

Human rights advocates headed by Karapatan-Southern Tagalog (ST) and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN)-ST together with the families of victims of human rights violations in Southern Tagalog trooped to the Veterans Memorial Medical Center today to remind Arroyo of her countless violations of human rights.

“We are fed up with the lies of the Arroyo camp. What she said in a TV interview about having a clear conscience is an insult to the families who lost their loved ones under her regime,” Glen Malabanan, Secretary General of Karapatan-ST said.

Human rights violations became a common fixture in the administration of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Since she ascended to power in 2001, enforced disappearances, illegal arrests and extrajudicial killings have been most rampant. Human rights organization KARAPATAN reports that by the end of Macapagal-Arroyo’s term in June 2010, there have been 1,206 documented victims of extra judicial killings, 206 victims of enforced disappearance, and 337 illegally arrested and detained. There were also innumerable cases of torture, “hamletting”, harassment and intimidation, and other human rights violations.

Malabanan added that Arroyo should stop uttering weasel words and instead face her crimes against humanity in ligh of the 63rd anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

“Hospital arrest is haven for Arroyo”
The groups also expressed great disappointment with how the Aquino government is handling the case to jail former-president now-congresswoman Gloria Arroyo

“Why is the Aquino government still allowing Arroyo go about with her lies and let her postpone justice?” Malabanan asked. She described the electoral sabotage case filed against Arroyo as “brittle” since it is only minor compared to Arroyo’s thousands of human rights violations and corruption cases.

She said that the Filipino people are not blinded with Arroyo’s bloody record and added that more than anything, the people demand to see her behind bars for the worst acts she and her state forces committed.

“Allowing Arroyo’s hospital arrest added more insult to injury. Arroyo’s detention place is not prison; this is a haven. For somebody who has committed thousands of human rights violations in a span of a decade, this is undoubtedly special treatment,” furthered Malabanan.

’A wild circus ride’
Malabanan recalled that Aquino’s first move to hold Arroyo accountable was the formation of a “Truth Commission” which was eventually declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

“We may just be witnessing a circus here folks. A never-ending cat-and-mouse game to raise false hopes for the people,” she said reminding the people how Arroyo eventually pardoned former president Joseph Estrada for his crimes.

In connection to this, Malabanan speculated Aquino’s possible fear of dwindling ratings for his first 500 days in post as the ulterior motive behind his move to jail Arroyo. “The Aquino administration busies itself with the technicalities of Arroyo’s arrest which only buys Arroyo more time to execute her escape schemes. The more we focus on technicalities, the more we delay and deny justice.”

She cited political persecutions against activists during the time of Aquino such as the case of the Lumban 6, activists and farmers detained at the Laguna Provincial Jail, Sta. Cruz, Laguna for trumped up charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives, and even murder. She stressed how ironically swift made-up cases can be filed against activists and how dramatically slow cases with evidences mocking the current administration in the face can be filed against Arroyo.

‘Reactive administration’
 

Meanwhile, Leo XL Fuentes, Secretary General of BAYAN-ST calls the current administration ‘reactive’ as it is not genuinely concerned with pursuing justice for the victims of human rights violations during the Arroyo administration but is ‘only saving its face’ in pursuing Arroyo.

Fuentes said that they have noticed the intentional delay of the Aquino administration in acting on the suits filed against the former president especially during his first year in office. “The government did not even file a single case when the Department of Justice has all the means to do so,” Fuentes said.

Aquino may surpass Arroyo’s HR violations
Currently, under Aquino’s administration, Karapatan has recorded 64 victims of political killings, 205 cases of illegal arrests, nine enforced disappearances, 51 cases of torture, and 78 political prisoners aside from the other 278 who were imprisoned since Arroyo’s time.

With the increasing number of human rights violations in Aquino’s administration, Malabanan disappointedly expressed how the president is ‘showing symptoms of another Arroyo’.

She said, “As the days pass, we are beginning to see how twisted the daang matuwid could go. I will not be surprised if one day we will find Aquino transmogrifying into just another Arroyo or even worse.” ###

Contact 09213060622 / 09162790622

 

 

     
  64  

Or one killed per week,
a really very bad record by any standard.

Click here to download 2011 KARAPATAN human rights report

 
     
           
     
     
     

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KARAPATAN-SOUTHERN TAGALOG
BAGONG ALYANSANG MAKABAYAN-SOUTHERN TAGALOG

PRESS RELEASE
9 December 2011
Email: karapatan.st@gmail.com / bayan.st@gmail.com
References: Glen Malabanan Leo “XL” Fuentes
DeputySecretary General, KARAPATAN-ST Secretary General, BAYAN-ST

HR cultural caravan push for Mendiola amid police blockades:
Dispersal of Occupy Mendiola but one of Aquino’s numerous assaults on human rights

In their 5th day of staging the Human Rights (HR) cultural caravan in the Southern Tagalog (ST) region, militant groups have arrived in the National Capital Region and are determined to expose the Aquino administration’s true color which is “tainted with the people’s blood” with their firm decision to march to Mendiola.

The groups headed by Karapatan-ST and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN)-ST condemned the recent state repression of the government manifested by the brutal dispersal of the youth camp-out and Occupy Mendiola.

‘Aquino no different from Arroyo’
After the dispersal the other day, the Manila Police District closed in on the streets near Mendiola making it difficult for protesters to set-foot in Mendiola. Glen Malabanan, deputy secretary general of Karapatan-ST slammed this move by state forces saying it “violates the consitutionally guaranteed right of the people to protest” and is “no different from that during Gloria Arroyo’s time”.

“Mendiola is a public area, as well as in any other public place in the country, wherein the people can hold their protests to address directly to the government the greivances that are not resolved. Is Aquino ignorant to the symbolic meaning of Mendiola in upholding genuine democracy in this country?” Malabanan said.

The HR cultural caravan, an annual event by Karapatan-ST and is part of the week-long commemoration of the United Nation’s 63rd International Declaration of Human Rights, aims to increase awareness among the public on their basic human rights as well as show them the current HR situation in the region.

Aquino to surpass Arroyo’s HR violations
 

Malabanan said that the Aquino government’s statistics on HR violations is becoming closer to that of Arroyo’s in her first years in power. In Arroyo’s first two years, Karapatan recorded 167 extrajudicial killings, 851 illegal arrests and detentions, 27 enforced dissappearances and 101 tortures. Meanwhile Aquino’s administration shows a record of 64 victims of Extra Judicial Killings, 205 illegal arrests, 9 enforced disappearances, 51 tortures, 356 political prisoners of which 78 are arrested under Aquino administration.

“The situation has not changed, the two administrations may differ in their number of victims but the facts remain that these cases of human rights violations are still perpetuated by the state with the culture of impunity well intact,” she stressed and added that Arroyo too, who was a master of state violence was not able to solve the crisis with these kind of attitued towrds critics of the government.

Malabanan connected the said human rights records in the counter-insurgency program being implemented. During Arroyo’s time, Oplan Bantay Laya 1 and 2 garnered numerous criticisms to from human rights activists here and abroad. “Now, the U.S. blueprint of state terror in our country is dubbed as Oplan Bayanihan,” she said.

In Southern Tagalog, there are already 13 records of extrajudicial killings (EJK) which include Kenneth Reyes local baranggay captain and head of BAYAN-Batangas, Celito Baccay and Caloy Rodriguez union leaders of the Solidarity of Cavite Workers and the Calamba Water District respectively, and including a youth-leader Lester Barrientos of the Southern Tagalog Cultural Network. All of these cases are linked with military elements behind the plan of killing.

“We are no longer dealing here with hired goons or private armies. These are state armed forces themselves constantly committing crimes against the Filipino people, crimes against humanity, who they are supposed to protect,” Malabanan added.

Malabanan slammed the Aquino’s administration’s lack of political will to solve the killings. No charges have been filed against the perpetrators of EJK since Aquino assumed office.

“Aquino has done nothing to prosecute the biggest culprit behind the bloodshed, that being, Arroyo, who has been receiving special treatment from the government instead, ” she said pertaining to Arroyo’s petition for hospital arrest after being pressed with electoral sabotage charges.

“What do all these double standards tell us? That the future for those who are in power and who can stomach brutally taking people’s lives will not be that bad after all? That people like the Ampatuans can go on a killing-spree and still get a VIP treatment? This is not only unfair. This same future is not even safe for our children,” Malabanan chided.

‘State violence can’t resolve worsening crisis’
Leo “XL” Fuentes, secretary general of BAYAN-ST, stressed that the prevailing crisis in Philippine society have caused the people to be “fed-up” and thus protest.

“Aquino must recognize the legitimate demands of the people, why they opt to address their mistrust to his government through street protests – these are but fundamental processes for a democratic system of governance to work. Now may we ask him, does quelling the protesters invalidate the reason behind the protest?” Fuentes asked.

He noted the latest Social Weather Station on hunger has increased to 4.3 million families or 21.5% of the population which is directly related to the measly wages that workers get and the chronic problem of absence of genuine land reform for peasants. Fuentes also cited that since Aquino’s stay in power, budget cuts on social services, such as education and health, were in their historical height.

“He expects the people to just keep silent while poverty and joblessness plague their lives? Instead of addressing these grievances he answers them with state violence, this won’t resolve the crisis but rather worsens it,” he added.

‘On a global scale of dilemma’
Fuentes also noted that the crisis does not happen only in the Philippines but is within the global scope of capitalism. This, he said, is why “Occupy” movements were formed – which directly holds the greed of the rich and the powerful 1% of the population as accountable to the dismal state of the bottom 99% of the social strata.

“Contrary to what local economists say, the continued economic relliance of the Philippines with that of U.S. economy deeply caused this crisis. You can expect that whatever economic policy the Obama administration takes, Aquino’s government will avidly duplicate,” he said.

According to him, the need therefore for a broad unity of sectoral calls against unjust government policies inspired Occupy movements around the world. “But still, the response of governments who were not sincere with serving the needs of their constituents was state violence –such as that of Aquino’s.”

‘We are not afraid’
Fuentes urged freedom-loving Filipinos to join the said Occupy protests and stressed that the groups are not afraid of what Aquino and his state forces can do to the protesters that are only exercising their rights for freedom of expression.

“We know that we too might be brutally dispersed once we get near Mendiola, but we also know that this is nothing compared to the countless victims –even the unrecorded ones- who fought with their lives in order to change the corrupt and inhumane system into something much more just and genuinely free,” Fuentes ended.

### Contact 09213060622 / 09162790622

 

     
     
           
     
     
     

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News Release
10 December 2011

Anakpawis joins commemoration of rights day slams Aquino’s disrespect for human rights

Anakpawis Partylist joined today’s commemoration of International Human Rights Day and called for justice for all victims of human rights violations.

In line with this worldwide commemoration, the militant partylist slammed the Aquino administration’s gross disrespect for human rights and international humanitarian laws saying human rights violations have intensified under the present administration.

“Aquino’s tuwid na daan is nothing but a bloody path where human rights and international humanitarian laws are never and would never be respected.” Joel Maglunsod, Anakpawis Executive Vice President said.

“Human rights violations persist and even intensified under Aquino’s camouflaged tyranny. But despite his administration’s efforts to build a saintly image, the ordinary masses who have been murdered, abducted, illegally detained and all those who have been stripped of their rights would always see him as a tyrant no different from Marcos or Arroyo” he added.

Just recently, the Aquino administration launched a brutal attack against democratic protests when he banned holding rallies in the historic Mendiola Bridge resulting in a violent dispersal that left 46 protesters, mostly students, injured and 5 were arrested.

Also, 5 other leaders of organizations, including Maglunsod, were charged with sedition and other made up charges. Maglunsod cited these as a proof of Aquino’s Marcos-Arroyo-like tyranny.

“Banning and violently attacking peaceful protests and filing ridiculously fabricated charges against protesters are proof that the Aquino administration hasn’t got the slightest respect for human rights. Worse, he even promotes human rights violations by defending the police forces who brutally attacked a democratic protest” said Maglunsod.

Anakpawis meanwhile said that aside from fascist attacks against the people, the Aquino administration has also launched an all out deprivation of the people’s right to decent living by failing to act on the worsening poverty and hunger in the country.

“By denying workers demand for substantial wage hike, depriving Luisita farmers of free land distribution, and stripping urban poor families of their homes and livelihood, Aquino has violated one of the most important rights of our people, the right to live” said Maglunsod.

Maglunsod reiterated their call for justice and vowed that they will continue to fight for the protection of human rights in the country against Aquino’s oppressive and tyrannical administration.

“We join the whole world today in commemorating the International Human Rights Day to call for justice for all workers and peasants whose rights have been curtailed and violated by this administration” he said.

“If the Aquino administration would persist in its disregard for human rights, then we vow that we would also persist in defending our rights and fighting his regime as how we fought tyrants such as Marcos and Arroyo” Maglunsod ended. ##


 

▲ March to Mendiola ▼
           
     
     
     
           

 

MARTIR
Vince Casilihan


Hagulgol ng isang ina
Hikbi ng isang ama
Sa nawalang anak nila
Na gawa ng mga pasista.

Ilang taon man ang lumipas
Hapding nadarama
Kirot sa puso at isipan
Damdaming puno ng kaba.

Hanggang sa ngayon ay di nawawala
Tanong sa mga isip nila
“bakit nyo ginawa”
Sa aming anak na kay bata pa.

Cris at Ambo kayo ay martir
Di lang isang huwaran kundi bayani
Ambag nyo sa kabataan na mapabuti
Buhay ng mamamayan at kapwa estudyante.

Mananatiling buhay inyong naiambag
Sa laban ng mamamayan ay naririyan
Tiyak at sigurado yan
Tayo ay magtatagumpay.

Di nyo na nga lang makikita
Mga taong nakikisimpatya
Sa inyong pagkawala
Bumuhos mga luha.

Sa bawat taung lumilipas
Dumarami na ang naititirik na mga kandila
Mga bulaklak na iniaalay
Sa puntod nyong dalawa.

Ngunit di magsasawa
Kahit ilang taon pa
Kami ay bibisita
Sa inyong himlayan.
 

 

BAKAL SA AKING HARAPAN
Vince Casilihan

 

makakapamili ba ng seldang paglalagyan
ang mga kinasuhan na walang alam,kundi
nanindigan sa karapatan bilang mamamayan
kinasadlakan ay kulungan.

kung ang pagsisilbi sa masa
isang kasalanan
pipiliin ko ito
dahil isang karangalan

rehas may ginto
di ito ginusto
rehas na kay baho, kay liit
kay init at malupit.

umawit ng malakas
tumula ng marahan
walang makakarinig
kundi pader sa paligid.

minsa'y sa piitan
inabutan ng kamatayan
di nabigyan ng katarungan
dahil sa kasong gawa-gawa lamang.

bakal sa aking harapan
lalaon ay rurupok.
ang nasa loob na dati'y
sa sunod gahaman ang papasok.

binihag ka man ng iilan
ngunit di ang isipan
gamit ang mga tala
tuloy ang laban.



 

           
The PCPR Singing Group
=          
==          
     
Dr. Giovanni Tapang, Chair, AGHAM Jigs Clamor of KARAPATAN
and Tinay Palabay of Tanggol Bayi
Nardi Sabino, PCPR Secretary-General
           

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Press Release:                                                              

 

December 10, 2011

 

References:

Rep. Raymond ‘Mong’ Palatino, Kabataan Party-list, 0908-5927099 

Bugsy Nolasco, media liaison officer, 0922-8240740

 

Youth solon reminds PNoy: Adequate social services funding integral to human rights

 

On the commemoration of International Human Rights Day, Kabataan Party-list Rep. Raymond “Mong” Palatino today reminded President Benigno Aquino III that the government should provide adequate funds for social services like health, education, food and housing because these are integral to basic human rights.

 

“The apparent government neglect to social services such as health, education, food and housing, behooves us to remind the Aquino administration to prioritize the people’s access to these basic needs because they are integral to the fundamental rights of all humans,” Palatino said.

 

Palatino explained that in the 2012 national budget now awaiting the final approval of the President, basic social services are underfunded making the government, in many respects, guilty of committing human rights violations against the people, especially the poor:


 

Particular

2012 National Budget

Per Filipino per day

Education (all levels)

P224.92 billion

P6.32

Health

P42.77 billion

P1.20

Food (Food security and price stabilization, NFA budget)

P4.0 billion

P0.11

Housing  (NHA)

P5.63 billion

P0.16

Source: 2012 GAA, Kabataan Party-list

 

“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, of which our country is a signatory, affirms the equitable access to  basic social services as an inalienable right of all humans. Underfunding social services and subjecting them to rapacious commercial interest to benefit the few are human rights violations,” Palatino said.

 

Palatino added that as the call for sufficient social services funding grows louder the Aquino administration resorts to state violence instead of properly addressing the people’s legitimate demands.

 

The youth solon cited the police brutality that took place early this week when thousands of protesters attempted to reach Mendiola to call for social justice and systemic change and in preparation for the commemoration of International Human Rights day.

 

Palatino also said that in light of the police brutality that transpired, the Aquino administration is starting to reveal its striking resemblance to the Arroyo regime under which countless human rights violations have been committed.

 

Based on human rights group KARAPATAN, as of September 2011 under the term of President Aquino, 55 individuals have been extrajudicially killed, 8 have been subjected to enforced disappearance, and 4,224 residents from various communities have been forcibly displaced due to militarization. ###

 

 

Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño
Rita Baua of ILPS - Philippines Chapter

Renato Reyes, Jr., BAYAN Secretary-General
           
     
Rey Claro Casambre
Executive Director, Phlippine Peace Center
Vencer Crisostomo, Anakbayan Chair Liza Maza of Makabayan Coalition
     

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Media Release
10 December 2011


Aquino violated every key labor right this year – KMU

Joining protests in time for the International Human Rights Day, labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno condemned the Aquino government for violating key workers’ rights throughout the year and for preparing an all-out violation of human rights as shown by its overkill use of force against participants in the Mendiola Campout protest.

KMU said Pres. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s government violated the following workers’ rights, all enshrined in the 1987 Constitution, within the year:

à Right to a living wage. Despite workers’ calls for a significant wage hike to bring the minimum wage closer to a living wage, the government approved a mere P22 Cost of Living Allowance last May. It has also allowed the prices of basic goods and services to go up unabated, thereby decreasing the real value of workers’ wages.

à Right to just share in the fruits of production. The government, through the Bureau of Internal Revenue, taxed workers’ contributions to SSS, PhilHealth and Pag-ibig that exceed the legally mandated level last November. It thereby taxed workers’ basic pay and reduced the social security that workers will receive upon retirement and in times of need.

à Right to security of tenure. The government affirmed contractual employment, in which workers can be terminated at any time, with its approval of outsourcing in Philippine Airlines this September. It then tried to spread the lie that it is ending contractual employment by releasing DOLE Order No. 18-A Series of 2011 this November which merely lays down regulations for so-called “legitimate” contractors and subcontractors.

à Right to strike. Pres. Aquino himself assumed jurisdiction over the labor dispute in PAL, quelling the then-impending strike there last December until the first quarter of the year. Workers who hold strikes in violation of the AJ can be retrenched from work, charged with criminal cases, and attacked by the police or the military.

“The Aquino government violated every key trade-union right within this year. Workers have every right to brand Aquino as ‘anti-worker’ and ‘pro-capitalist’,” said Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general.

“Workers are in a worse situation now than last year. We have sunk deeper into hunger and poverty under the Aquino government,” he added.

KMU also slammed the Aquino government for using excessive force against students, workers and urban poor who joined the Mendiola Campout protest since Dec. 6.

“After violating every key workers’ right this year, the Aquino government, for a year-ender, used excessive force against those who are calling for an immediate relief from the intensifying hunger and poverty in the country,” Soluta said.

“Today, we condemn the Aquino government not only for violating workers’ economic rights this year but also for repressing those who are fighting such violations and fighting hunger and poverty,” he said.

Reference: Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general, 0928-7215313

 

     
     
           
     
     
     

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KALIKASAN PEOPLE'S NETWORK FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
26 Matulungin St. Central Dist., Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines, 1100
Tel./Fax; +63 (2) 924-8756; E-mail: kalikasan.pne@gmail.com
Website: www.kalikasan.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
10 December 2011

 
Justice for environmental defenders still nowhere in sight under Aquino, green groups say
 

Activists under the Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment echo calls of justice for environmental activists and advocates who had fallen victim to political killings and other human rights violations (HRVs) as the international day for human rights approaches.They have slammed the Aquino administration for its gross inaction in all 50 recorded cases of HRVs against environmental advocates since 2001, of which none has been resolved to date.

“To have not uttered a single word about the military’s murder of botanist Leonard Co and not done any action on the assassination of Dr. Gerry Ortega gives no ascendancy for Aquino to be called PH’s greenest president. On human rights day, let us show Aquino that we have had enough of his pretentious daang matuwid that is littered with the blood of our environmental defenders,” said Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of Kalikasan.

According to the Task Force – Justice for Environmental Defenders, 46 of these 50 HRVs are political killings of environmental defenders. The latest high-profile killings include Dr. Gerry Ortega, a broadcaster and environmentalist in Palawan who opposed large-scale mining in Palawan, and Fr. Fausto ‘Pops’ Tentorio, an anti-mining Italian missionary who was gunned down by Special CAFGU Active Auxiliary (SCAA) paramilitary units trained by the Armed Forces of the Philippines in North Cotabato only this October.

In a statement, Justice for Environmental Defenders said that “the death of renowned taxonomist Leonard Co, who was killed by the military alongside peasant guide Julius Borromeo and forest guard Sofronio Cortez, has already observed its first anniversary with no positive progress in the case. Dr. Ortega’s case is also about to suffer a similar fate.”

“Most of these killings stem from the militarization of communities affected by extractive and destructive industries such as corporate logging and large-scale mining. We cannot help but think that Aquino is waiting for another Fr. Pops to come along to be a victim of the AFP-trained paramilitaries, which he has approved to militarize mining areas in Claver, Surigao del Norte, for instance,” Bautista pointed out.

Kalikasan pointed out that equal to the lack of policies and laws protecting our environment and natural resources are the dearth of laws that defend environmental workers, scholars and activists from HRVs. Congress has apparently sat on House Bill 3593 or the Anti-SLAPP (or Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) Bill which was filed by progressive lawmakers to give protective measures to the freedom of speech and to seek redress by activists.

“Kalikasan calls on the people, especially the families of victims, to continue the campaign for justice for the victim environmental defenders despite the odds presented by a turtle-pace justice system. More importantly, let us carry on the struggle, not only in the halls of justice, but in the congress, senate, and the parliament of the streets. We will hold the Aquino regime accountable for its despotic disregard of the environment and its defenders,” ended Bautista.###

REFERENCES
Mr. Leon Dulce, 0917 562 6824
Campaign Coordinator, KALIKASAN

Mr. Clemente Bautista Jr. 0922 844 9787
National Coordinator, KALIKASAN

 

Glenda and Lineamarie, the widow and the only child of slain botanist Leonard Co
           
     
     
     

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GABRIELA WOMEN'S PARTY
NEWS RELEASE
DECEMBER 9, 2011

Ref:
Rep. Emmi De Jesus, 0917-3221203
Rep. Luz Ilagan, 0920-9213221
KJ Catequista, GWP Spokesperson, 0919-6298132
Jang Monte, 0917-4049119
Rowena Festin, 0915-6349308

NO SPECIAL TREATMENT! JAIL GMA!

Over a hundred women holding prison placards created a chain of jail bars around the Veterans Memorial Medical Center. They decried the
special treatment given the former President and demanded Mrs. Arroyo’s transfer to an ordinary detention center.

“Tulad ng marami pang ibang akusado, ang isang pinagbibintangang magnanakaw, mandaraya at human rights violator
katulad ni Gloria Arroyo ay hindi dapat nagtatamasa ng ganito karangyang kulungan. Sa regular na kulungan dapat manatili si Arroyo. Ito ang hiling ng milyon-milyong kababaihang naghirap at nilapastangan sa loob ng 9 na taon niyang panunungkulan,” said KJ Catequista, Gabriela Women’s Party spokesperson.

Catequista likewise said that the special treatment being given Mrs. Arroyo is by itself scandalous considering that a growing majority of poor women are deprived of health services. “Malinaw na kung may kaya at kapangyarihan ang isang kriminal na nagtatago sa likod ng kanyang sakit, ispesyal na serbisyong medikal ang matatamasa niya mula sa Administrasyong Aquino. Samantalang Maraming mga nanay sa komunidad ang hindi man lang madala ang kanilang mga anak na maysakit sa ospital dahil sa kahirapan at panggigipit ng pamahalaan sa badyet sa kalusugan!”

Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Luz Ilagan who joined the women protesters, stressed, “Hospital detention for a notorious human rights violator and plunderer is a stark contrast to the situation of political prisoners who continue to languish in jails across the country.”

“It was under Mrs. Arroyo’s term that 60 year old Angie Ipong was illegally arrested, tortured and molested, and eventually proven innocent of the charges filed against her. It was under her term that Juvilyn Oliveros and Mercy Castro of the Morong 43 endured difficult pregnancies,” said Ilagan.

“At least 43 of the 365 political prisoners, mostly accused of trumped-up charges of rebellion are sick with various ailments, yet they are forced to make do with ordinary inhospitable prison cells. Considering the magnitude of the crimes that Mrs. Arroyo is being accused of, why should she be accorded such extra-special treatment?”

“We demand the immediate prosecution of Gloria Arroyo for the cases of plunder and human rights violations hurled against her.
We demand that President Aquino exercise his political will to the fullest in order to expedite the handling of these cases. His failure to do so will
make him an accessory to impunity and violence perpetrated by the Arroyo regime. Arroyo has to answer for 1,208 cases of extra-judicial killings, 206, enforced disappearances, and 1,099 tortures committed during her term,” Ilagan concluded.

 

     
     

Camp-out at Mendiola
           
     
     
     

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News Release
December 11, 2011
Reference: Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares

As Martial law files are turned over to CHR
BAYAN MUNA URGES DEFEAT OF DRACONIAN MEASURES AGAINST HUMAN RIGHTS AND LEGITIMATE DISSENT: Harassment and persecution of legitimate opposition feared

While Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares welcomed the turnover of the Martial law files, he warned that Marcosian bills are being railroaded in Congress. He also agreed with some senators who recently cautioned against the passage of draconian measures which allow government to open and freeze bank accounts of and imprison anybody considered by government as a destabilize or opposition to the government.

“Other than the anti money laundering bill, there is another related bill, HB 5015, which heavily penalizes those suspected of financing the so far undefined act of terrorism. The problem is this bill is not really intended for terrorists, but could be used against legitimate dissenters even opposition politicians, their wealthy financiers and other institutions critical of government including the media. While we commemorate Human Rights week, bills which will not even make a dent against the so called terrorists, but will definitely be a threat to human rights as it can be used just by almost any high ranking public officials and politicians allied with any ruling administration to harass opponents of the political majority“said Rep. Colmenares. “When asked if a terrorist or his financier have escaped because of the insufficiency of the current AMLA and anti-terrorist laws, the bill’s sponsors even admitted they cannot cite an instance. So if this is not necessary in the fight against Abu Sayaff, what is the purpose of the bill?”

The bill includes vague and over broad provisions such as penalizing with life imprisonment anyone who attempts to “deal indirectly, in any way” with “any property or fund” of a suspected “designated person” or terrorist. It also penalizes those who “failed to prevent” the financing of terrorism. “This a horrible because any legitimate dissenter including opposition politicians will go to prison if he innocently accepts a contribution or gives a donation to groups which government later claims to be suspected terrorists. The current AMLA and anti terrorist laws are already draconian and there is no need to give vindictive public officials more powers that can be abused” He said. “Unlike before when only a court can order the opening and freezing of bank accounts, these bills allows the Anti Money Laundering council the the “ex-parte” power to do so based solely on its discretion,”

Colmenares also warned his colleagues in the House against blindly passing the bill. “Former President Arroyo probably never expected that her DOJ Circular 41 will be used against her when she attempted to leave the country recently. The anti money laundering bills and the anti terrorist financing bills which will be voted upon before the recess, could also be used against you someday should the President or any future president or their subordinate cabinet members consider you a “destabilizer” warned Colmenares. “Since there is no need for another draconian measure which practically repeals the bank secrecy laws and opens up everyone to harassment, I urge my colleagues not to vote for the approval of the bill.” # # #
 

     
           
     
     
     

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DECEMBER 10, 2011

Press Release

Camp-out reaches Mendiola
End the system that perpetuates injustice and exploitation; camp-out concluded with thousands protesters marched to Mendiola to celebrate International Human Rights day


“The basic premise of our protests lies on these three words: we had enough. The people had enough of the crisis and human rights violations.”

This was the statement of Vencer Crisostomo, Anakbayan National Chairperson and one of the main organizers of Camp-ou PH, as thousands marched to Mendiola today in celebration of the International Human Rights Day.

According to the youth leader, “Under the current system, the people are suffering fro, grave violations of basic human rights, and these are being aggravated by the Aquino administration. From slashing the budget of social services, demolitions in communities, lack of genuine land reform in the country, to outright repression and killings to the people.”

Kampuhan Kontra Kaltas, Krisis, at Kahirapan

Last December 6, the protesters started the “camp-out protest” tagged as “Kampuhan Kontra Kaltas Krisis at Kahirapan”. The protesters marched to Mendiola and mounted tents along in different areas in Manila, setting up the People’s Camp. Streamers saying "Ibagsak ang bulok na sistema!" and "Baguhin ang lipunan!" were put up in different places.
This is the country’s own version of the Occupy movement across the globe, the people’s response to the imperialist assaults to the rights of the 99 percent of the population.

Despite the pouring rains and the dispersal of police units, support for the ‘Occupy Mendiola’ movement continues to grow. In the past four days, they were joined by students and youths from the provinces of Bulacan, Pampanga, and Laguna. Labor unions under the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), OFWs’ families led by Migrante International, farmers groups in the Southern tagalong Region, as well as groups like Gabriela and Kadamay. They were also joined by lawmakers from partylist groups Bayan Muna, Kabataan, Anakpawis, Gabriela Women’s Party, and ACT Teachers Party.

Protest actions were held in different regions to express their solidarity with ‘Occupy Mendiola’. Thousand students from all nine State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) in the islands of Panay and Guimaras walked out of their last December 8. Meanwhile, students from the provinces of Baguio, Laguna, Bicol, Iloilo, Cebu, Tacloban,and Davao held noise barrage.

More so, concerned Hong Kong citizens picketed the local Philippine Consulate to condemn the police brutality vs. the first two days of the movement.

“We thank the thousands who have joined the Occupation and provided support since Day 1. The overwhelming support that we received basically shows the discontent of the people with the current social system,” added Crisostomo.

'Ibagsak ang sistema'

“The country, and the rest of the world, has been a site of injustice and exploitation. This is just the start of the movement that register the people’s dissent against the inequities in economic status and foreign domination in the country. Our 5-day Camp-out showed us how much the people want change and how determined collective action can inspire them ”

“This is our warning to those in power: We will no longer put up with lies, corruption, abuse, exploitation and injustice. Together, we will stand for freedom, justice, equality and genuine change,” ends Crisostomo. ###


Reference:
Vanessa Faye Bolibol, Camp-out PH media officer, 0926 170 36 55

 

Ikulong sa Bilibid, hindi sa Presidential Suite ng Veterans Hospital!
 
           
     
     
     
           
     
   
     
     

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Information Bureau
Communist Party of the Philippines

Press Release
December 10, 2011

Filipino people have no reason to celebrate Int'l Human Rights Day--CPP

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) slammed the Aquino regime for comitting the same human rights violations as its predecessor. "The Aquino regime has denied the Filipino people reason to celebrate International Human Rights Day as the past year and a half has been marked by widespread violations of political and civil rights committed by abusive military, police and paramilitary forces of the US-Aquino regime in the course of waging its Oplan Bayanihan war of suppression."

"The same culture of impunity permeates the current regime," said the CPP. "Military and paramilitary units perpetrate atrocities without fear of punishment. In the countryside, they target areas where people are actively involved in mass struggles to defend their land and the environment against the incursion of foreign mining companies and big plantations. Communities which the military suspect to be supportive of the revolutionary movement are treated as armed adversaries."

"Wherever the AFP carries out so-called peace and development operations, it establishes martial law rule over the people," said the CPP. "It launches operations patterned after those of Gen. Jovito Palparan, where fascist troops impose economic and food blockades, restrict the people's movements, require travel papers and subject people to body searches. This is not not much different from the conditions in the martial law hamlets during the Marcos dictatorship."

"They encamp or set up detachments inside or beside school grounds, endangering the lives of children," added the CPP. "Armed fascist troops violate people's domiciles, divest them of their farm animals and destroy their crops. There are mounting cases of extrajudicial killings, illegal arrests, torture and harassment of activists and local peasant leaders. The number of political prisoners continue is on the rise."

"In the cities, the Aquino regime violently demolishes urban poor shanties in its effort to clear valuable real estate for big bourgeois comprador projects under its flagship Public-Partnership Program," said the CPP. "Fearing the rise of mass protest actions, the Aquino regime employed police brutality just a few days ago to break up mass demonstrations by students and workers in Metro Manila in a desperate effort to stem the tide of protests and mass struggles."

"For the Filipino people, Aquino's 'peace and human rights' rhetoric is a farce. The regime has refused to fulfill its obligation to release the JASIG-protected peace consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP)," added the CPP. "It treacherously carried out the arrest of two key leaders of the NDFP on the eve of formal negotiations."

"For three times, the Aquino government has reneged on its promise to release the 13 consultants of the NDFP," said the CPP. "As commander-in-chief, Aquino has likewise failed to hold the AFP accountable for its numerous attacks against NDFP consultants in the past, including key NDFP leaders Leo Velasco, Prudencio Calubid and Rogelio Calubad who all became victims of forced disappearance in 2006."

"Similarly, the Aquino regime has failed to put to justice the perpetrators of the abduction of UP students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan, peasant activist Jonas Burgos as well as the Manalo brothers, despite the preponderance of evidence unequivocally pointing to the AFP's direct responsibility for these crimes," added the CPP.

"The Aquino regime is carrying out Oplan Bayanihan employing measures that are violative of human rights as stipulated in the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), which it signed with the NDFP in 1998."

"The Filipino people must unite and resist the Aquino regime's Oplan Bayanihan war of suppression," said the CPP. "They must heighten their courage and determination to defend their democratic rights and fight the terrorism and fascism of the armed agents of the Aquino regime," said the CPP. The CPP urged the revolutionary forces to extensively propagate the CARHRIHL and conduct study meetings to raise the people's awareness of their fundamental political and civil rights.

"Every single violation of human rights by the Aquino regime should be vigorously exposed and condemned," said the CPP. "Cases from the remotest areas should be brought to national and international attention at the soonest possible time in order to help put a stop to the campaign of suppression being carried out with utter impunity by the military, police and paramilitary forces."

"Such cases should be immediately brought to the attention of the NDF Secretariat in the CARHRIHL Joint Monitoring Committee," added the CPP. "The Filipino people should take advantage of rapid means of communication such as cellphones and the internet to bring cases of abuse by armed agents of the state to the attention of the mainstream and social media," added the CPP.

"The people's government will continue to receive and act on complaints of human rights violations. Duly-constituted revolutionary committees will continue to carry out investigations in order to establish the culpability of responsible units, officers and personnel of the AFP and PNP," said the CPP.

"The New People's Army (NPA) will continue to undertake bigger and more frequent tactical offensives in order to target and punish the most notorious fascist units of the AFP and PNP and prevent them from further committing abuses against the people."

     
     
     
           
     
     
     

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Office of Representative Antonio L. Tinio
ACT Teachers Party-List
House of Representatives

PRESS RELEASE
December 10, 2011

References: ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. Antonio L. Tinio (0920-922-0817)
Julie Anne D. Tapit, Media Officer (0915-762-6522)

ACT Teachers representative urges release of political prisoners

As the nation marked International Human Rights Day, ACT Teachers Party-List Representative Antonio Tinio called for the release of all political prisoners in the country.

“By earlier claiming that there are no political prisoners in the country, the Aquino administration is turning a blind eye to the injustice perpetrated by the government against citizens who have chosen the path of political dissent,” said Tinio.

Data gathered by Karapatan, a human rights group, revealed that out of the current 356 political prisoners in the country, 303 or 85% are charged with common crimes, while only 15 or 4% are charged with political offenses such as rebellion. Significantly, 78 were arrested and detained under the Aquino administration.

“Even teachers have not been spared from arbitrary arrest and detention," said Tinio, citing the case of Charity Diño.

Diño, 31, was formerly a religion teacher in San Isidro Memorial High School and later on served as a full time public school teacher in Asiod Primary School in Oriental Mindoro. She later volunteered as an organizer for the Samahan ng mga Magsasaka sa Batangas, a peasant organization. On November 23, 2009, elements of the 730th Combat Group of the Philippine Air Force arrested Diño and two others in Talisay. They were held by the military for 18 days and subjected to torture before their turn-over to the Philippine National Police. They face charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives and are currently detained at the Batangas Provincial Jail.

"Charity Diño's plight is typical of those political dissenters whom the government seeks to repress by filing trumped up criminal charges against them," said Tinio. "Charity and other political prisoners like her must be freed immediately. "

The legislator criticized the Aquino administration for the special treatment given to former President and now Pampanga congresswoman Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo regarding the circumstances of her arrest and detention for electoral sabotage. "Mrs. Arroyo, the chief perpetrator of the worst crimes against the people since the dictator Marcos, is allowed all sorts of amenities and special privileges while under arrest. Meanwhile, the political prisoners, most of whom are activists who have dedicated themselves to serving the poor and oppressed, languish in jails alongside ordinary detainees."

"For the sake of justice, Arroyo must be swiftly tried and jailed while the political prisoners must be set free," concluded the ACT Teachers solon.

Tinio and 37 other legislators have filed House Resolution No. 1956, calling on President Benigno S. Aquino III to grant a "general, unconditional, and omnibus amnesty" to the country's 356 political prisoners.#
 

     
     
           

Filipino Americans stage protest in Times Square, NYC
in commemoration of Int'l Human Rights Day
Photos by Kathleen Marie Dy
 
   
     
     
     

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For Immediate Release
December 2, 2011

Media Contact: Michael Viola
Philippine-United States Solidarity Organization (PUSO)
viola.michael@gmail.com

Seattle, WA – Marie Hilao-Enriquez, chairperson of the Philippines-based human rights coalition Karapatan will be in Seattle on December 10 to commemorate International Human Rights Day. Marie will share her own personal story as a survivor of state-sponsored crackdown on human rights, as well as provide an update of the current situation of human rights abuses in the Philippines. Marie will be speaking at the University of Washington on December 9 and the Filipino Community Center (FCC) in South Seattle on December 10.

Marie is a leading advocate for human rights in the Philippines. When Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law in 1972, his regime specifically targeted youth activists for their role in questioning the unjust policies of the U.S.-supported Philippine dictator. Marie was a political prisoner and was able to escape. However, authorities captured, tortured, and killed her sister, Liliosa. Her sister’s unjust death steered Marie in the ongoing struggle for human rights and to seek justice for the families and victims of state-sponsored torture and extrajudicial killings. As chairperson of Karapatan (which translates to “justice” in the Filipino language), Marie helps document cases of human rights violations perpetrated by the armed forces and paramilitary units, assists the victims and their relatives in seeking justice, and exposes the present government for the more than 1,000 victims of extra-judicial killings.

“It is a huge honor to welcome such a celebrated human rights crusader to Seattle. She has a remarkable story of organizing against the Marcos dictatorship and a sharp analysis of the current human rights situation in the Philippines.” says Joaquin Uy from the Philippine-U.S. Solidarity Organization (PUSO), the community-based group organizing Marie’s talks. “Her presentation is especially timely in offering a global reference point for the Occupy events taking place in New York, Seattle, and in other U.S. cities.”

Marie will be speaking about Karapatan’s annual human rights report under the current Philippine presidency and sharing her unique perspective on the Occupy movements sweeping the nation and the world. Her talk is meant to commemorate International Human Rights Day. On December 10, 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which has become a universal standard for defending and promoting human rights. Every year on December 10, Human Rights Day marks the adoption of the Universal Declaration. Governments and nonprofit organizations all over the world celebrate this day’s declaration that “All human beings are born with equal and inalienable rights and fundamental freedoms.”###

     
           
     
     
     
           
           
BONUS TRACKS
     
Marchers from KMU and Anakpawis avidly read their newsletter Click here  to download KMU Newsletter
   
     
     
   
After the rally: cleaning up Mendiola
     
     
           
VIDEO CLIPS
     
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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