Surface the disappeared

Enforced disappearance undermines the deepest values of any society committed to respect for the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms, and that the systematic practice of such acts is of the nature of a crime against humanity….

(Declaration on the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance, General Assembly resolution 47/133 of 18 December 1992)

During the Marcos martial law regime, hundreds of political activists were forcibly disappeared by Marcos’ armed forces. After it was swept from power by the people, it was also found guilty of many human rights violations including enforced disappearances. The Marcos regime was thus compelled to, at the very least, indemnify the victims and the families of the victims. Several regimes later, enforced disapperances continue to be practiced by Philippine state armed forces. Under the Arroyo regime, more than 200 have disappeared, and many more became victims of extrajudicial killings and other heinous human rights violations eligible to be prosecuted as war crimes under international law.

Enforced disapperances are crimes against humanity. They are committed in the name of a counterinsurgency plan designed and implemented by Philippine state forces against the political opposition. They should be stopped. President Gloria Arroyo and her Armed Forces of the Philippines should be made to account for these disappearances. With our strong unity, campaign and movement to defend human rights, we shall strongly demand that they surface the disappeared, and stop this crime, once and for all.