“With the four-country visit of US Pres. Barack Obama, he is virtually stamping Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines a ‘US property’ seal on the world map,” Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general said. “Many of the peoples of these nations are now geared up to protest US Pres. Obama’s ‘unfriendly’ visit,” Palabay announced.
The Global Council of the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) called for internationally coordinated actions in time for the Obama Asia-Pacific visit to raise the alarming rate of extrajudicial killings, stalled peace talks, and the increased and permanent presence of US troops in the Philippines.
The April 23-29 Obama visit the four countries, “is meant not only to strengthen its economic interests and military presence but its dominance in Asia-Pacific,” Palabay said.
The so-called Asia Pacific pivot “has already resulted in the 60 percent increase in the deployment of the US Navy forces in the Western Pacific and an increase frequency and scale of military exercises,” said the statement of the ICHRP Global Council.
ICHRP member organizations in the US have lined up several activities such as a mobilization in front of the White House.
The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-USA (Bayan-USA) has put out a national call to action on April 25. Other groups in the US held activities as early as April 15, the global day of action on military spending. The raised the issue of human rights violations in the Philippines and US military aid. Said events were geared towards supporting mobilizations around Obama’s visit in the Philippines.
As Obama lands in Japan for the Japan-US summit, the two States affirms its military and economic alliance through additional US military bases, specifically in Ukawa district, Kyotango City. Some 49,000 American troops are deployed in different bases in Japan.
South Korea also hosts some 30,000 US troops in the border of North and South Korea. “The US’s presence heightens the tension to the two countries and uses this for its military build-up, including positioning of weapons of mass destruction in South Korea,” Palabay explained.
In the Philippines, Obama is set to sign with BS Aquino the railroaded “Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement” (EDCA) despite questions on its constitutionality. “The agreement gives the US full access to Philippine facility and to set up US military bases within Philippine military camps, and to launch military operations in Philippine soil under the name of joint military exercises,” Palabay said. “It’s a violation not only of the Constitution, but a sell-out of our national sovereignty,” Palabay added.
“For sure, this leads to the intensification of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. The overwhelming cases of human rights violations and IHL violations perpetrated by US troops in the wars of aggression in Afganistan and Iraq will, more likely, happen here in the Philippines,” Palabay warned. ###
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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.