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    European HR Speaking Tour



    Surface the Disappeared!


    MIGRANTE – Europe, a migrant advocacy organization for Filipinos in Western Europe based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands,  will be spearheading the promotional tour of the critically-acclaimed Philippine film, Dukot (Disappearance) in several cities in Europe (Amsterdam, Utrecht and  Den Haag in The Netherlands, London, Austria, Rome and Belgium).

    Dukot is a story about the extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances of members of the political opposition and government critics –a disturbing phenomena in recent years in the Philippines. It was produced and directed by Filipino film producers, directors and actors, who are also alarmed with the issue of political killings.

    It was an official entry at the Montreal World Film Festival in  2009 and received critical acclaim. It was also shown in select theaters in the Philippines and has recently toured Japan, Hongkong, five  major cities in Canada and in several major cities in the US. Its scheduled Europe tour begins in the last week of October and will end around December 10 – International Human Rights Day.

    This film tour aims to bring awareness of the political killings currently taking place in the Philippines. Since 2001, over 200 cases of enforced disappearances and more than 1,000 cases of extrajudicial killings have been documented. Last November 2009, the Philippines made headlines worldwide for the massacre in Maguindanao of 57 people, including 30 journalists.  We call for an immediate end to these atrocities.

    MIGRANTE – Europe in partnership with Kabalikat, Pinay sa Holland (Gabriela), MIGRANTE Sectoral Party and MIGRANTE-Amsterdam, MIGRANTE-Den Haag, and the International Coordinating Council for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICCHRP) will be bringing Dukot to Netherlands.   The Amsterdam premier is on November 6, Saturday,  7:00 PM  in  #150 Wibaustraat Bldg, Amsterdam. We plan to sell tickets at  € 10 each and come out with a souvenir program to augment our expenses.

    All film screenings will be followed by a public forum with the presence of two human rights victims  from the Philippines – Mrs. Empeno, mother of disappeared  student activist, Karen Empeno,  and Raymund Manalo, who was able to escape after being disappeared for almost two years. Film producer, Dennis Evangelista and lead actor, Allen Dizon, will be present during the screenings.

    We wish to seek your support  to ensure the success of this important event.

    All funds raised from the screenings will support human rights organizations Karapatan, Desaparecidos and Hustisya in the Philippines as well as educational and advocacy programs in the field of human rights and rights of migrants in the Netherlands and the rest of Western Europe.

    • Den Haag, Netherlands: November 5, 2010
    • Amsterdam, Netherlands: November 6, 2010
    • Utrecht, the Netherlands: November 9, 2010

    Stop the Killings


    THE YEAR 2007 is a dangerous time for the Filipino people as state terror, impunity in human rights violations and general lawlessness grip the nation. The government of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has done little to stop the political killings and disappearances except take token steps to assuage local and international outcry. On the other hand, the year also signals victories in the people’s relentless struggle against political repression and state terrorism as the victims’ clamor for justice and democracy is echoed here and abroad.

    There is no clearer picture of the Arroyo government’s iron-fist mindset and utter disregard for human rights than the sight of full-battle-geared policemen and an armored personnel carrier smashing into a tear-gassed hotel lobby to “serve an arrest warrant” to a handful of rebel soldiers and civilians, and afterwards, police
    herding in the journalists and broadcasters covering the incident, their wrists strapped, like suspected criminals.

    So alarming is the Arroyo government’s propensity for political repression that Philip Alston, United Nations Special Rapporteur (UNSR) for extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions, in his November report on the Philippines admonished that “As Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, the President (GMA) must take concrete steps to put an end to those aspects of counterinsurgency operations which have led to the targeting and execution of many individuals working with civil society organizations.” He strongly recommended that, “Extra-judicial executions must be eliminated from counter-insurgency operations.”

    In Congress, GMA is besieged with impeachment complaints on the basis of her involvement in scandalous billion-peso government contracts, million-peso bribery of legislators and local government officials right inside Malacañang Palace and gross violations of human rights.

    KARAPATAN dares CHR to dismiss Negros Oriental official for gross violations


    THE NATIONAL human rights alliance, KARAPATAN, dared the Commission on Human
    Rights (CHR), chaired by Aquino-appointee Etta Rosales, to dismiss CHR Special Investigator III Jess Cañete in Negros Oriental for violating theParis Principles adopted by the United Nations in human rights.

    “The key elements of the composition of a national institution for human rights are its independence and pluralism. Jess Cañete, as a CHR official, is clearly not fit for the job.  He is biased, partial and even malicious in the performance of his supposed duty,” said Dennis Abarrientos, Secretary
    General of Karapatan – Central Visayas.

    Special Investigator III Cañete gloated in a Philippine News Agency story that Karapatan is “pathetic” in filing charges against government officials and that it leave Negros Oriental and stay in Negros Occidental.

    Karapatan filed criminal and administrative charges against Cañete together with officials of the 11th IB of the Philippine Army, formerly headed by Lt. Col. Nemesio Franco Gacal, members of the Philippine National Police, and village officials of Linantuyan, Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental. The case was dismissed by Overall Deputy Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro.

    Cañete is known to side with the AFP, PNP and government officials in on-going counter-insurgency operations in Negros Oriental.

    A case in point was the strafing incident on January 25, 2009 at the house of the Pableo family in Bgy. Panubigan, Canlaon City, involving the PNP and the 11th IBPA, which killed two civilians and wounded four others. There were four children inside the house when troops opened fire. Their mother,
    Beverly Pableo, succumbed to fatal bullet wounds while their father, Porfirio, was arrested and is still detained to this date. Cañete, then a CHR investigator, reported that the incident was a “legitimate encounter” and charged Karapatan for “obstruction of justice”. Cañete even told the PNP to file charges against Karapatan but the case was later dismissed by the Kanlaon regional trial court.

    “CHR chair Rosales should look into these cases where the CHR itself is being used to commit human rights violations. We are also reporting this to the International Coordinating Committee (ICC),” Abarientos said.

    The ICC is a representative body for the purpose of creating and strengthening national human rights institutions in conformity with the Paris Principles.

    “Cañete’s obsessive habit of praising the military, discourages the victims of human rights violations to come in the open. They perceive Canete as biased for the AFP whom victims accuse as perpetrators and violators of their rights,” concluded Abarientos. ###

    Karapatan hits Bacalzo appointment as new PNP chief


    THE NATIONAL human rights alliance, Karapatan, reacting to Pres. Aquino’s appointment of Gen. Raul Bacalzo to replace Director General Jesus Versoza as the new chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) said that the move “only created one more blunder in the bumbling police force.”

    “The PNP received international denigration in the blotched rescue effort during the August 23 hostage-taking crisis.  Gen. Bacalzo, as the former head of Task Force Usig to solve the killings of journalists and activists, had not really performed his duty to pin down the culprits in 1,206 cases of
    extrajudicial killings.  Even as a bar topnotcher, justice has not been served by Bacalzo,” Karapatan chair Marie Hilao-Enriquez said.

    Karapatan also cited the continuing extrajudicial killings with the extension of Pres. Aquino of the military Oplan Bantay-Laya under the guise of counter-insurgency.

    “Pres. Aquino largely continued the ‘revolving door’ policy of replacing one retiring general with another about to retire.  That is why there is discontent and restlessness in the state security forces, be it in the PNP or the AFP,” Enriquez added.

    “We shall continue to seek justice for those summarily executed, forcibly disappeared and arbitrarily detained.  We hope to see a more responsive police force under a more responsible administration to the needs of the less empowered masses,” Enriquez said.

    Karapatan is staging a National Day of Action and sympathy fast on Friday for the release of all political prisoners. There are now some 380 political prisoners nationwide most of whom are under police custody.

    “One progressive step that Bacalzo can take before he retires is to release those under their custody,” Enriquez concluded. ###