Window dressing can't hide stench of Arroyo regime's bloody human rights record --Karapatan

The Philippine human rights alliance Karapatan today said that window dressing cannot hide the stench of the Arroyo regime's bloody human rights record. They also said that "Mrs. Arroyo and Gen. Ermita will not be happy for long because the world knows that justice has not been served and that the killings and disappearances continue."

"We hate to break their bubble, but the EU acknowledgement of the decline in the number of killings and disappearances are in no way an exoneration or vindication from these crimes," said Ruth Cervantes, Public Information Officer of Karapatan.

Cervantes said, "The issue here is that the killings and disappearances, as a result of Oplan Bantay Laya, continue."

"Curiously, the regime seems to be taking credit for the 'de-calibration' of killings and enforced disappearances committed by their troops' attacks on the population.," Cervantes said, calling to mind that the report of UN Rapporteur Philip Alston confirmed that the killings and disappearances are centrally-directed under the Arroyo government's counterinsurgency program.

Karapatan also supported the statement made by the international NGO Human Rights Watch, which said that, "the list of actions touted by the Philippine government as progress unfortunately, seem little more than 'window-dressing.'"

The human rights group also said that in reality, more than window-dressing, there is a systematic, brazen deception to cover up the gross human rights violations and dreadful economic conditions in this country.

On April 11, the Arroyo government will undergo the first-ever Universal Periodic Review of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. Karapatan expressed hope that the international community will see through the lies peddled by the Arroyo government at the UN.

A People's UPR forum will be held in Quezon City on Thursday, April 3, days before the UPR session on the Philippines. "The forum hopes to discuss the UPR's relevance and what we have set out to accomplish at the UN as part of the national and international campaign against extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances," Cervantes said.

Conveners of the Philippine UPR Watch are Karapatan, National Council of Churches in the Philippines, Hustisya, Desaparecidos, Bayan, Ibon Foundation, IPHR Monitor, Bayan Muna and GMA Watch. ###