Asia Pacific Conference for Human Rights Advocacy in the Philippines
University of the Philippines Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines (25 November 2012)
We, human rights advocates, from different countries of Asia Pacific regions collectively reflected, heard and analyzed the current human right situation and testimonies of relatives and victims of extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances and other forms of human rights violation in the Philippines.
We declare that President Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III is no different from his predecessor Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo with continuing human rights violations and the prevalent impunity in the country. For the past two years the Aquino government’s ‘righteous path’ already bore a total of 114 victims of extra-judicial killings, 12 cases of enforced disappearances, 447 cases of illegal arrest among others, as documented by Karapatan (from July 2010 to September 30, 2012).
We condemn the intensifying militarization in the country through Oplan Bayanihan. The massive military operations in the countryside have cost the lives and livelihood of people in the community. It has been used to protect the interest of foreign mining companies and other big businesses operating in the areas, politically harass and thwart the people’s struggle against large scale mining and environmental destruction and to frustrate the people’s aspiration towards the protection of ancestral lands and sources of livelihood especially among indigenous peoples.
We continually oppose the counter insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan of the Aquino government. Based on the experiences of people in the community, Oplan Bayanihan is no different from the previous anti-insurgency campaigns made by the past governments and as it further intensifies state fascism and perpetuates extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearance, arbitrary arrest and detention, forcible displacement of people in the communities and other forms of human right violations.
We condemn Oplan Bayanihan and the intensifying state fascism in the Philippine is vastly linked to the US anti-terror campaign in Asia. The increasing US intervention in the Philippines through Visiting Forces Agreements and Balikatan exercises is primarily designed to strengthen the counter insurgency campaign of the present Aquino government and US economic and political interests in the country and in Asia and Pacific region and to weaken the Filipino peoples’ movement for human rights, justice and peace in the country. As it is, Oplan Bayanihan is the US Counter-insurgency Guide to the letter, a copycat of the insidious plan meant to uphold the interests of the 1% over that of the 99% of the poor Filipinos.
We lament that the justice for the victims of human rights violations remains elusive as hardly any of the perpetrators of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearance, torture and other gross attacks on political dissenters have been made to answer for their crimes. The most notorious among them former General Jovito Palparan remains at large while police and military officials are not taking any serious effort to arrest him. Worse, the practice of promoting military generals whose records reek of human rights abuses continue, as in the case of Morong 43 torturers.
We persistently call on President Benigno Aquino III to speed up the trial of GMA and hold her accountable to her crimes against the Filipino people. We call on the president to immediately stop the extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests and detention, enforced disappearances, forced evacuation of rural villages and other human rights violations that continue as brazenly under his government. We call for compensation and indemnification of victims of human rights violations and their families. We call for the general and unconditional omnibus amnesty for all political prisoners. We likewise call on the President to immediately pull out military and paramilitary troops in rural and urban communities. The increasing numbers of human rights violations are not a mere propaganda of the left as Aquino maliciously declared before the international community, rather it manifest the continuing crimes against activists, human rights and peace advocates, indigenous peoples, workers, farmers and church peoples perpetuated by the military, police and state agents operating under his watch.
We will stand resolutely with all peoples experiencing human rights violations and their kin in the persevering struggle for justice. We will act unceasingly, and with full determination, bring an end to state of impunity prevailing in the Philippine society as we work towards the full realization of basic rights and fundamental freedoms in the Philippines.
Thus, amidst the worsening human rights violations and prevailing state of impunity in the Philippines we human rights and peace advocates from Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines are committing ourselves to stand in solidarity with the Filipino people and victims of human rights violations.
We hereby form the Asia Pacific Coordinating Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines. The APCCHRP shall actively support the Filipino peoples’ struggle for justice, peace and human rights. We shall strengthen our resolve and solidarity to bring the issues of human rights violations in the Philippines to regional and international communities.
Action for Peace & Development in the Philippines (APDP, Australia)
Auckland Philippines Solidarity Association (APSA, New Zealand)
Hong Kong Campaign for the Advancement of Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines (HKCAHRPP, Hong Kong)
Osan Migrants Center (South Korea)
Taiwan Alliance for Human Rights (TAHR, Taiwan)