Release Canadian student Kim Chatillon-Meunier from BI detention center

Release Kim!

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) last night arrested Kim Chatillon-Meunier, a 24-year old Canadian student, as she passed through immigration at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport for her 7:10pm flight to Hongkong.  She is now detained at the BI detention center at Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan, Taguig.

According to the immigration officer Rosemary Gutierrez, Kim was in a "watchlist" for allegedly participating in the SONA rally on July. BI OIC Commissioner Siegfred Mison was reported to have ordered the detention.

Contrary to BI’s allegations, Kim was not able to join the march of the People’s SONA but, later arrived at the rally site in time to observe the rally program. 

Kim was primarily in the Philippines for her internship requirement at the Université de Montreal, Canada where she is a regular student. She was selected by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) to go into an internship program in the Philippines called ‘Students for Development’ sponsored and financed by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) in Canada.

While in the Philippines, she was able to attend the International Conference on Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRPP) in July. She also joined the International Solidarity and Humanitarian Mission in Quezon Province,  along with other foreign participants, shortly before the Conference.  She was also involved in the research and documentation of the reproductive health conditions of women in Tondo, Manila. 

At the detention center, BI agents attempted to search Kim’s bags but was prevented when a Karapatan staff and NUPL lawyer Edre Olalia intervened and asserted that the BI has no search warrant.

Karapatan condemns this blatant harassment and violation of rights of Kim Chatillon-Meunier. This is similar to what the Bureau of Immigration did to Dutch activist Thomas van Beersum to prevent him from leaving the country immediately. Karapatan views these incidents as a violation  Chatillon-Meunier's fundamental right to free expression and, her right to study and support human rights issues in the Philippines.

Karapatan calls on the Bureau of Immigration to immediately release Kim and allow her to go back to Canada. We demand the withdrawal of this so-called watchlist as tools of harassment and suppression of fundamental rights, especially among foreigners who support the Filipino people’s cause.