UN ruling on human rights violations on the Eden-Eddie slay case out, could boost impeachment vs. Arroyo

Photo 1 at the press conference (L-R) Eden Marcellana's 12-year-old daughter Dana, Eden's sister Helen Mercado, Karapatan Sec Gen Marie Hilao-Enriquez and legal counsel Edre Olalia who is also President of the International Association of People's Lawyers.The verdict is out.  More than two years after the families of slain human rights defenders Eden Marcellana and Eddie Gumanoy filed a complaint against the Arroyo government, a United Nations body ruled that the latter is guilty of violating primarily the right to life of said human rights defenders and was negligent in providing remedy.

The UN Human Rights Committee, the UN treaty body monitoring the States parties' compliance to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), states that it "is of the view that the facts as found by the Committee reveal violations by the Philippines of article 2, paragraph 3 (the right of violated persons to effective remedies and the State ensuring that such remedies are provided and enforced); article 6, paragraph 1 (the right to life of every person); and article 9, paragraph 1 (the right to liberty and security of persons) of the Covenant."
"The ruling is a welcome development.  It would contribute to the wealth of evidence on human rights violations alleged in the impeachment complaint against Mrs. Arroyo," said Karapatan Secretary General Marie Hilao-Enriquez who filed the case on behalf of Marcellana's husband Orly and Gumanoy's son Daniel on March 9, 2006.

Hilao-Enriquez spoke at the press conference held by Karapatan in Quezon City to laud the UN ruling.  Also speaking at the press conference were Marcellana's daughter, Dana and Eden's sister Helen Mercado.

The UN decision is a fitting tribute to the women of courage whose memories we give tribute in commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (IDEVAW) on November 25, which dates to the remembrance of the valiant Mirabal sisters that fought the US-sponsored Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic.  The sisters were killed by Trujillo's henchmen in 1960.

"As we mark the day that recalls the courage of women against tyrannical regimes, we pay tribute to Eden and all the men and women who paid with their lives to defend human rights," said Hilao-Enriquez.

Twenty-eight (28) Karapatan human rights workers have been killed under the watch of Mrs. Arroyo, six (6) of them are women, including Marcellana who was Karapatan-Southern Tagalog Secretary General at the time of her death. There were 107 women victims of extrajudicial killings and 31 women victims of involuntary disappearance (Karapatan documentation as of January 20, 2001 to September 30, 2008)

Karapatan also lambasted the Arroyo government for slapping human rights defenders, including Karapatan workers Doris Cuario, presently KARAPATAN-ST Secretary General, Dina Capetillo of Karapatan-Batangas and Karen Ortiz of CEMJP with fabricated criminal charges.

Photo 2 - women human rights workers hold photo of slain women colleagues at the eve of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women commemoration.
"We express outrage at the government's persecution of human rights defenders.  We take exception to the IALAG's dirty tactics of slapping trumped-up murder cases against our colleagues in Southern Tagalog," said Hilao-Enriquez.

This sentiment is echoed by Dana Marcellana, one of Eden's daughters, who sadly said that, "We welcome the UN decision but we are also very much worried about my father's safety as he is facing the possibility of arrest.  We have lost our mother; we don't like to lose our father, too."  Orly Marcellana is among the 72 listed in the fabricated charges.

The rights group deplored the serious threat foisted by state security forces and their agents against human rights defenders and journalists and called on the public to support the impeachment proceedings against Arroyo for presiding over human rights violations. 

"Mrs. Arroyo tolerates and encourages the continuing impunity of these forces on their systematic and recurring attacks on human rights and fundamental freedoms."#