UN called upon to heed victims of terror in its review of Arroyo's rights record

In the observance of the International Women's Month and in their monthly Saturday gathering, women relatives and friends of victims of human rights violations linked arms with other human rights defenders at the Welcome Rotonda in Quezon City, in a bid to call the attention of the United Nations to the human rights record of the Arroyo administration.

"Women are linking arms for justice and express our hope that UN will consider our plight when the Philippine government undergoes the Universal Periodic Review of the UNHRC. We want the world to know that we are witness to the bloody record of the Arroyo government," said Evangeline Hernandez, convener of Hustisya, an organization of survivors and relatives of victims of human rights violations under the Arroyo regime.

Hernandez said, "We also hope that the Philippines' membership at the Human Rights Council will not in any way jeopardize the objectivity and open-mindedness of UN."

UPR as a venue where the Philippine government will have to make an accounting of its compliance with international human rights covenants to be held in Geneva. To closely monitor the events, Hustisya joins the newly-formed Philippine UPR Watch, convened by NGOs that has submitted information on human rights for the consideration of the UN. Karapatan, NCCP, Bayan, Ibon Foundation, GMA Watch and Bayan Muna are among its conveners whose representatives are now in Geneva to participate in the proceedings.

"We expect that the Arroyo government will blatantly deny responsibility to all the human rights abuses it committed to present a good image in the international human rights community. We will not let this happen. They deserve to know the truth. Thus we are behind the Philippine UPR Watch delegation that will serve as our voice in the said event," Hernandez concluded. ###