Rights group says GMA lying to UN on human rights situation, likens regime to military rule in Burma

In a press conference today in Quezon City, the Philippine NGO delegation that attended the United Nations Human Rights Council session in Geneva denounced the lies being propagated by Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at the UN General Assembly in New York.

Karapatan Secretary General Marie Hilao-Enriquez said: "Telling the UN that the Arroyo regime respects human rights is a barefaced lie. The spate of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and other human rights violations is proof that Arroyo and her cohorts are human rights violators."

Enriquez attended the 6th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva with Mrs. Edith Burgos, mother of missing activist Jonas Burgos, lawyer Edre Olalia and Bayan Central Luzon's Susan Cruz. The UNHRC session ran from Sept 10 to 28.

"We went there because the killings and disappearances are not resolved and are not stopping", says Enriquez whose group has documented 60 cases of extrajudicial executions (January to July 2007) and 17 cases of disappearances, 12 cases of torture, 113 cases of illegal arrests and thousands of victims of forced evacuation (January to June 2007).

Mrs. Burgos came with the Philippine NGO delegation to file the case of Jonas at the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance (WGEID) and to beseech the Council to prevail upon the Philippine government to make good its commitments in the pledges it made to the General Assembly when it sought reelection to this Council in May of this year.

The group also criticized Arroyo for pabalat-bunga or keeping appearances when she invited the UN Secretary General to go to the Philippines but still would not set a date for the entry of UN Special Rapporteurs or no reply at all to some of them.

Lawyer Edre Olalia said that they were informed by the representative of Mr. Leandro Despouy (Argentina) who is the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers that no date has been set on the visit of Despouy to the Philippines despite the fact that the request was supposedly granted by November last year. The office of Mr. Despouy gave a commitment to follow-up the request with the Philippine government.

Mrs. Arroyo is a hypocrite in criticizing the military dictatorship of Burma as she herself is trying to set up another dictatorship in the Philippines. Up to now, she hasn t recognized and indemnified the victims of Marcos martial law regime; worse, she has created thousands of victims of human rights violations under her own administration. Like the Burmese leadership, she too must go.###