World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Response by AHRC to Al Jazeera's questions on massacre

Philippines: The response by the AHRC to Al Jazeera's questions on Hacienda Luisita massacre

(Hong Kong, April 14, 2014) On April 12, Al Jazeera broadcasted a report, titled: "Philippine farmers fight for land rights" indicating that none of those involved in the massacre of farmers in Hacienda Luisita, owned by the family of current President Benigno Aquino III, have been punished for the massacre ten years on.

Below is the transcript of Al Jazeera's questions in a live interview and the AHRC's comments on why and how there is lack of accountability:
Al Jazeera: Now, joining me from Hong Kong on Skype is Danilo Reyes, deputy director of the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC). Good to have you.

I guess the question here, looking at that report is: why has there been no accountability for these deaths?

Danilo: Because impunity or the lack of investigation, prosecution and punishment of any the security forces in the Philippines is deeply rooted. None of those involved in the killing of these seven protestors (in Hacienda Luisita in November 2004) has been prosecuted.

In fact, after the 2004 incident, six or seven more activists—human rights and political activists—have been killed. Even witnesses to the massacre were also killed. When it comes to investigation, it is impossible that any form of investigation, prosecution involving these killings which would result in punishment within the existing system.

Al Jazeera: The next question then is: how much official involvement is there, and the State, if none of this can be investigated properly?

Danilo: The problem in the Philippines is that those who make the laws could not be subjected to the same law. So that applies to the killing of protestors, and the struggle of the farmers who are demanding for distribution of their lands for many decades.

Despite the Supreme Court's ruling that these lands should be distributed in full, but the implementation of that again involves a lot of exemption (of which land would be distributed to the farmers or not). This makes it impossible for farmers to reclaim their land despite the court order.

There are around 4,000 legitimate farmers who are beneficiaries to this land distribution. The Supreme Court has already ordered that it should be distributed to them.

The problem also here is that: the security forces and the Philippines government link these legitimate demands for a livelihood by the farmers—which is supported by the human rights activists and political activists—to an issue of security.

So, when a person's demands for food as part of reclaiming their land, the security forces say "it is becoming a security threat". That is why in Hacienda Luisita, there is a heavy presence of security forces. They are from the paramilitary forces—forces under the control of the military and the police.

Not only in Hacienda Luisita, but in many lands or plantations owned by the politicians and those who have positions in the government. (Their lands) have a heavy presence of armed forces because they connect (the farmer's demands) to an issue of security.

Once it becomes an issue of security, then they can justify any of their actions. This involves justifications to the killings, targeted attacks of human rights activists, as subversives.

Al Jazeera: Alright. Thank you so much Danilo Reyes, there.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

The White House: Charting A New Course On Cuba

We are separated by 90 miles of water, but brought together through the relationships between the two million Cubans and Americans of Cuban descent that live in the United States, and the 11 million Cubans who share similar hopes for a more positive future for Cuba. More>>

ALSO:


Journalist Most Recent Victim Of Israeli Military

Bashar, a journalist from Palestine TV, was shot in the left leg at Kufr Qaddum on Friday the 5th of December 2014. More>>

ALSO:

  • Palestinian Centre For Human Rights - Swiss government’s bid to convene a summit on Palestine
  • UN News - UN-backed reconstruction efforts continue in Gaza
  • UNICEF Mobilizes To Reach People Affected By Typhoon

    As Typhoon Hagupit wreaks havoc through the Philippines, UNICEF is acting quickly to support the Filipino government’s response to the emergency, providing lifesaving supplies and services for children and women in the areas hardest hit by cyclone-force ... More>>

    ALSO:

  • FAO - FAO praises government for early typhoon warnings
  • Security Council Demands End To LRA Attacks In Africa

    A Congolese refugee at an emergency school in Obo, Haut-Mbomou, Central African Republic, (CAR) after fleeing attacks by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Photo: OCHA/Lauren Paletta More>>

    UN Condemns Botswana’s Treatment Of Bushmen

    The UN Special Rapporteur on cultural rights has voiced concerns over Botswana's evictions of the Bushmen in the name of wildlife conservation. The United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on cultural rights has condemned Botswana’s treatment of Africa’s ... More>>

    UN Congratulates Frontline Ebola Response Workers

    10 December 2014 – The United Nations today congratulated the front line workers in the field battling Ebola on their well-deserved recognition as Time “Person of the Year,” while countries affected by the outbreak and their partners met to ... More>>

    ALSO:

    World United States: US Must Now Recover Moral High Ground In Torture Allegations

    Mr. Juan Mendez, Special Rapporteur on Torture, Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas More>>

    ALSO:

    Get More From Scoop

     
     
     
     
     
    World
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news