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NZ Group to Aquino: It’s not only the ‘extreme left’

Press Statement
25 October 2012

NZ Group to Aquino:
It’s not only the ‘extreme left’ who are critical of unabated killings under your watch!

“The United Nations Special Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, World Council of Churches and other reputable institutions and various individuals have raised concern on the continuing human rights abuses under more than two years of the Aquino presidency. It’s not only the ‘extreme left’ who are critical of unabated killings under your watch.”

Thus was the message of Philippine solidarity group in New Zealand as the Office of the President stated that its “views resemble misinformation commonly being disseminated by a number of individuals and organisations with ties to extreme leftist elements in the Philippines.” Ramon A. Carandang, secretary of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office in Manila, wrote in The New Zealand Herald in response to PSNA article. The PSNA urged Prime Minister John Key to raise the issue of human rights in the Philippines and challenge President Aquino to make the country an "actual" democracy.” http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10842516

One of the Herald’s reader commented: “Despite the assertion of Mr Carandang, criticism of the Aquino Administration's response to extrajudicial killings has not just come from the 'extreme left'. Human Rights Watch has announced its disappointment that no soldiers or police responsible for killings and torture of civilians have been successfully prosecuted yet, even though Aquino has been in power for two and a half years. General 'Butcher' Palparan, who has been charged with the kidnapping and torture of two young female university students, has yet to be captured. Human Rights Watch and a number of Filipino human rights groups believe he is being sheltered by elements in the Armed Forces. Last year the President also made a directive allowing mining firms to employ paramilitary forces. Amnesty International has called for these paramilitaries to be disbanded because they have engaged in human rights abuses against local residents. Many people would take President Aquino's commitment to human rights more seriously if there were some successful prosecutions of those soldiers who had killed and tortured civilians and the directive allowing mining companies to employ private armies was reversed.”

PSNA dares President Aquino to immediately respond positively to the request of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders to visit the country in order to assist the Government in improving the volatile situation of human rights defenders in the Philippines. In July 2012, Margaret Sekaggya and Christof Heyns, special rapporteurs on human rights defenders and extrajudicial killings, urged the government to immediately adopt measures to protect rights defenders in the Philippines and investigate the increasing number of threats and killings targeting them over the past months.

Just like previous administrations, President Aquino, Mr. Carandang and other government apologists resort to red-baiting when they are confronted on outstanding issues of corruption and impunity. In truth, Aquino’s continuing failure to end impunity besides failure to bring economic relief for the nation’s poor and redistribute land monopolized by his clan and other landed elite, places him under critical eyes of local and international watchdog groups.

The Philippine government will continue to be monitored by the UN and other international human rights groups who do not belong to the “extreme left.” It better take steps to truly deliver justice for the human rights victims and refrain from red-baiting in vain attempt to cover up its failure to end impunity.


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