UN Rapporteur on arbitrary executions visits the Philippines: rights and victims’ organizations express hope

“We welcome Mr. Philip Alston’s visit with optimism,” said Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Secretary General of the human rights alliance KARAPATAN on the arrival of United Nations Special Rapporteur (SR) on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions.

Enriquez says “it is high-time that the UN Special Rapporteur probes the interminable arbitrary executions under the Arroyo government.”

Victims’ organizations and rights groups such as Hustisya! (Victims of Arroyo Regime United for Justice), Desaparecidos, SELDA and the Ecumenical Movement for Justice and Peace joined KARAPATAN in welcoming the arrival of Mr. Alston. They unfurled a welcome banner for Mr. Alston with the message “ Stop The Killings in the Philippines” emblazoned on it. The UN representative is expected to arrive in the Philippines today, 10 February 2007.

Hustisya Head Convener Evangeline Hernandez said, “We, families of victims of extrajudicial killings under the Arroyo regime are thankful that the UN Rapporteur is finally coming to the Philippines.”

“We look forward to meeting him and we hope that he will hear us out and help serve justice,” said Hernandez who added that “Mrs. Arroyo’s government has victimized us again and again by refusing to give us justice and failing to stop the killings in the Philippines.”

The victims said they are ready to face Mr. Alston and give their testimonies, while Karapatan and its lawyers said they are ready to assist the victims as they always have.

KARAPATAN and its allied organizations expressed hope that “Mr. Alston will maintain his independence despite attempts by government to limit his interaction with victims and human rights defenders who are also under threat by this murderous regime.”###