Arroyo regime can’t hide its gruesome human rights record

Human rights alliance Karapatan, today said that the Philippine government’s report before the United Nations in the recently concluded Universal Periodic Review is but an attempt to hide the Arroyo government’s gruesome human rights record. While the Philippine delegation led by Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita pulled his act with an out-and-out tale of deception before the UNHRC session, victims of human rights violations and their families in their second monthly gathering for the year expressed disapproval and disgust.

“It is important to point out that what brought about the downward trend of cases of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearance last year, was the strong outcry here and abroad against the killings and abductions resulting from the government’s Oplan Bantay Laya ”, said Jigs Clamor, Deputy Secretary of Karapatan. “It is not Malacanang and AFP’s recognition of human rights. It is only the Supreme Court which has been taking positive steps. Worse, there was still one extrajudicial killing every week and an enforced disappearance every other week in 2007.”

United Nations Special Rapporteur Philip Alston urged the President to take concrete steps to put an end to those aspects of the counterinsurgency operations which have led to the targeting and execution of many individuals working with civil society organizations. Recently, the European Union also hit the counterinsurgency program and asked the Philippine government and the AFP to review it in dealing with the insurgents.

“We believe that these pressures from the international community contributed a lot to our call to stop the killings. And we also recognize the fact that the killings have been put in the sideline as GMA faces yet another political crisis in her administration with the disclosure of the anomalies behind the ZTE National Broadband $330-million project and the consistent decline of her already negative satisfactory rating,” Clamor continued.

“Human rights advocates must remain vigilant. The government has yet to neither review nor withdraw Oplan Bantay Laya, worse, it vows to intensify it as another of its deadlines approach. The fact remains that the Filipino people are still subject to continuing gross and systematic human rights violations with impunity.” Clamor concluded.