PRESS RELEASE – Vancouver, B.C. — Two Philippine human rights defenders on a Canada-wide tour will be in Vancouver and Victoria from April 13 to April 16 to raise awareness about the grave realities of human rights violations occurring within a climate of impunity in the Philippines. Dr. Merry Mia-Clamor and Ms. Angelina Bisuña Ipong, two former political prisoners, will expose first-hand the human rights violations against them and those who express dissent and who take action for social change.
Dr. Merry Mia-Clamor is a medical doctor and the Coordinator of the Philippine Council on Health and Development. In Feb 2010, she was arrested along with 42 other health workers, subjected to physical and psychological torture, detained for 10 months and later released in December 2010 after all charges were dropped. Dr. Clamor and the other health workers filed a civil law suit against the military, police officials and former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to hold these authorities accountable for the gross human rights violations.
Angelina Bisuña Ipong is the Secretary General of the Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) or the Association of Ex-Detainees Against Arrest and Detention. Ipong was arrested in March 2005, tortured, sexually assaulted and denied her legal and civil rights, charged with rebellion and released six years later in February 2011 with all charges against her dismissed for lack of evidence. In prison, Ipong wrote the book “Garden Behind Bars,” taught basic literacy to the other prisoners and kept a vegetable garden.
The locations, dates and times of the Victoria and Vancouver public events are as follows:
· Victoria: Friday, April 13, Forum: “Philippine Human Rights Situation: Why Should Canada Care?” 5:00—7:00 PM, Philippine Bayanihan Community Centre, 1709 Blanshard St.
· Vancouver: Saturday, April 14, Forum: “Philippine Human Rights Situation: Why Should Canada Care?” 2:00–5:00 PM, Room 2270, Sauder Industries Policy Room Simon Fraser University- Harbour Centre
· Vancouver: Sunday, April 15, 12:30 PM, Meeting with the Hon. Mable Elmore, MLA for Vancouver-Kensington, 6106 Fraser St. (at E 45th St)
· Vancouver: Sunday, April 15, Forum: “It’s Right to Rebel” 2:00-5:00 PM, Strathcona Community Centre, 601 Keefer Street
This Canadian tour of Philippine human rights defenders is part of the international effort in preparation for the May 2012 United Nations Universal Periodic Review (UPR) session. The human rights record of the Philippine government will be under examination and UN member states such as Canada will have the opportunity to review and recommend remedial action.
The delegation will have visited Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, and Winnipeg to speak and meet with the youth and students, politicians, church communities and leaders, migrant and indigenous communities before heading West. Vancouver and Victoria will be the last stops of the Canada-cross country tour.
The local BC sponsors for this leg of the tour are: United Church of Canada, KAIROS, Alliance for People’s Health, Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights, Migrante BC and the Victoria-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights. Endorsing Organizations are the International League of People’s Struggle-Canada, Inter-faith Institute, SFU-J.S. Woodsworth Chair in the Humanities, Lawyers Rights Watch Canada, Mining Justice Alliance, and W2 Radio.
For more information and to arrange interviews, please contact Beth of the Canada Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights at 604.616.3015 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Or call the Victoria Philippines Solidarity Group at 250.888.6758. Info on the tour and bios of the delegates are available at www.kairoscanada.org
April 3, 2012: House of Commons, Ottawa:
International Human Rights Sub-Committee Meeting
Beth (Canada Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights) 604.616.3015
Victoria Philippines Solidarity Group: 250.888.6758