Australian law professor denied entry to the Philippines

Prof. Gill Boehringer, 84 years old, with dual citizenship in the US and Australia, law professor in Australia, and a long-time human rights advocate in the Philippines, is being held by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 since 12 midnight of August 8, 2018, upon his arrival from Sydney. The professor is set to be deported after being told that he was among those blacklisted, allegedly for joining protest actions and fact finding missions in the Philippines.

Prof Gill Boehringer

(Photo of Prof. Gill Boehringer) 

“The Duterte regime is unsettled by the international clamor against its anti-Filipino policies. It works tirelessly to prevent individuals from exposing the gross rights violations happening in the country, cowardly hiding behind the rhetoric of exercising the country’s sovereign will. We cannot even begin to enumerate the many instance in which the Duterte regime watched meekly as the country’s sovereignty was continuously disrespected. This is just another effort to silence the voices that echo the people’s demand for justice,” Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said.

Prof. Boehringer has been actively campaigning for human rights issues in the Philippines since the Arroyo presidency, including the plight of the Lumad in resource-rich areas in Mindanao and militarization of their communities which has intensified with the martial law declaration. He is married to a Filipina, has frequently travelled to the Philippines, and has health problems.

“The professor has seen for himself the struggles of the Lumad and their resistance to defend their ancestral lands from extractive industries. He has taken the initiative, using his own resources, to come to the Philippines and express solidarity,” Palabay added.

Karapatan deplores the continuing spate of harassment against human rights defenders like Prof. Boehringer who are being harassed and intimidated, for conducting human rights advocacy and international solidarity for victims of rights violations in the Philippines. His situation is akin to that of Australian missionary Sr. Patricia Fox and that of Methodist missionaries from US, Zimbabwe and Malawi who were supporting human rights causes in the country.

“It is deeply alarming how foreign nationals who express international solidarity with the Filipino people are barred from the country.The real crooks, on the other hand, are given a free pass in and out of the country,” noted Palabay, adding that the the BI order used against foreign nationals, the Operations Order SBM 2015-025, should be immediately repealed.

“We call on immigration authorities to respect the rights of Prof. Boehringer, including his right to due process and to have access to his family, lawyers and doctors, and his rights as a human rights defender. We call on authorities to stop Prof. Boehringer’s deportation and immediately repeal all orders violating the people’s basic and fundamental rights, regardless of nationality. This is the Duterte regime’s paranoia. The regime is showing its cracks,defensive and scared to be buried under the weight of its own crimes against the Filipino people,” concluded Palabay.

Reference:  Cristina Palabay, Secretary General, 0917-3162831

Karapatan Public Information Desk, 0918-979058