Press Statement, September 28, 2012 – Karapatan today criticized the Aquino government as “it continues to peddle lies on the human rights situation in the international community, through the Universal Periodic Review process at the United Nations and, the recent visit of Dept. of Justice Sec. Leila de Lima at the United States, in exchange for US military assistance.”
“Human rights defenders, victims and their relatives, and communities under military attack can attest to the prevailing, if not more emboldened, climate of impunity under Aquino. While the GPH officials claimed at the UN and, among US parliamentarians, that the Aquino government is taking concrete steps to address extrajudicial killings and; that they do not promote the culture of impunity, indigenous peoples’ leader Genesis Ambason was shot and tortured to death by paramilitary groups in Agusan del Sur last week,” said Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan.
According to Karapatan, Ambason is the 112th victim of extrajudicial killings under the Aquino administration. Among these are nine children who were victims of EJK, three of them killed during the AFP operations in Maguindanao this August 2012. Also, rampant military operations are conducted in mineral and resource-rich areas to suppress the opposition mounted by farmers and indigenous peoples against the entry of big foreign mining and business operations.
Palabay said “this parody of lies by the Aquino government is meant to justify the release of the more than $13 million in US military assistance to the GPH, which was blocked since 2008, when international solidarity groups brought to fore the issues of extrajudicial killings and other rights violations in the Philippines.”
She also said that many of the 112 cases of extrajudicial killings under Aquino remain pending either at the prosecutorial or court levels, while state security forces and masterminds in the AFP who are accountable for these crimes have yet to be put behind bars nor convicted.
Former Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Gen. Jovito Palparan Jr., former Gov. Joel Reyes and almost all military and government officials who were responsible for the killings and disappearances remain free from arrest for these violations, while some were even promoted, such as the case of the Morong 43 torturers, Palabay explained.
“Instead of enacting the Anti-enforced disappearance bill and the Marcos Victims Compensation bill, Aquino has expedited and signed into law the Cybercrime Prevention Law which infringes on the right to freedom of expression. All of these illustrate the state of impunity under Aquino,” she concluded. ###
Reference: Cristina “Tinay” Palabay, Secretary General, +63917-5003879
Angge Santos, Media Liaison, +63918-9790580
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KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties. It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign.