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

 

Palestine: Ni’lin Demonstrators Met With Violence

International Solidarity Movement On the 20th of March, during Ni’lin’s weekly Friday demonstration, Israeli occupation forces attacked protestors with about 20 rounds of tear gas canisters shot with the ‘venom’ tear gas launcher mounted on a military jeep ... More>>

ALSO:

UN Envoy Says Yemen On 'Rapid Downward Spiral'

Yemen stands on the brink of civil war amid deepening political tensions and an uptick in sectarian violence, United Nations Special Adviser Jamal Benomar warned today as he explained that only through dialogue could the country achieve a peaceful political transition. More>>

Continued International Support As Vanuatu Recovers

Damage seen on Saturday 14 March 2015 in Port Vila, capital of Vanuatu, after Cyclone Pam moved through the Archipelago. Photo: UNICEF Pacific More>>

UNICEF Rushes Emergency Supplies For Cyclone-Affected Tuvalu

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) is dispatching emergency life-saving supplies to communities in Tuvalu as part of its efforts to assist communities in the Pacific region that were affected by Tropical Cyclone Pam, with nutrition and hygiene kits arriving today. More>>

Vanuatu: Regenvanu Expects 50% Of People Struck By Pam To Be Homeless

Vanuatu Minister of Lands Ralph Regenvanu says more than 50 percent of those hit by super Cyclone Pam at the weekend are now homeless. More>>

ALSO:

ISIL May Have Committed Genocide & War Crimes In Iraq

The Baharka camp, 5km north of Erbil in northern Iraq, is home to thousands of internally displaced people (IDPs) following the takeover of large swathes of the country by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Photo: Emma Beals/IRIN More>>

Guinea Reports Highest Weekly Ebola Case Total This Year

Guinea reports highest weekly Ebola case total so far this year, new UN data shows More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news