On the Occasion of the Human Rights Day Filipinos must remain defiant and assert their rights!

On the occasion of the 59th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the human rights watchdog KARAPATAN today called on the Filipino people to remain defiant and to assert their rights.

"In her six years as head of state, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has shown no respect to human rights," said Marie Hilao-Enriquez, secretary general of the Alliance for the Advancement of People's Rights (KARAPATAN). "The civil, political, economic and social right of every Filipino is being violated by this dangerous, fascist regime through Arroyo's continued implementation of the counterinsurgency program Oplan Bantay Laya II, the Anti-Terror Law and other draconian measures."

KARAPATAN documentation shows that from January 2001 up to October 31 this year, there are a total of 887 victims of extrajudicial killings, and 185 victims of enforced disappearances. Enriquez notes that among these cases, not a single perpetrator had been convicted and brought to jail.

"We have not only seen the occurrence of killings and the disappearances increase, but other human rights violations such as the recent handcuffing of media men at the Manila Peninsula during the Trillanes stand-off against the government and the imposition of a curfew after that event." Enriquez stated. "The Arroyo Government is capable of doing what it wants done, especially if it aims to continually perpetuate itself in power. Truly, this administration adheres to a climate of impunity on human rights violations and terror."

In the light of this situation, where public discontent and action is countered with repression, the human rights group urges the Filipino people to remain vigilant and bravely defy any effort by the Arroyo regime to repress their human rights.

"We cannot allow this government to trample on our dignity as Filipinos and human beings. We must assert our rights and our collective action will defeat this fascist Arroyo regime." Enriquez concluded. ###