Press release

Karapatan hits Bacalzo appointment as new PNP chief

THE NATIONAL human rights alliance, Karapatan, reacting to Pres. Aquino's appointment of Gen. Raul Bacalzo to replace Director General Jesus Versoza as the new chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) said that the move "only created one more blunder in the bumbling police force."

"The PNP received international denigration in the blotched rescue effort during the August 23 hostage-taking crisis.  Gen. Bacalzo, as the former head of Task Force Usig to solve the killings of journalists and activists, had not really performed his duty to pin down the culprits in 1,206 cases of extrajudicial killings.  Even as a bar topnotcher, justice has not been served by Bacalzo," Karapatan chair Marie Hilao-Enriquez said.

KARAPATAN dares CHR to dismiss Negros Oriental official for gross violations

 

THE NATIONAL human rights alliance, KARAPATAN, dared the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), chaired by Aquino-appointee Etta Rosales, to dismiss CHR Special Investigator III Jess Cañete in Negros Oriental for violating the Paris Principles adopted by the United Nations in human rights.

"The key elements of the composition of a national institution for human rights are its independence and pluralism. Jess Cañete, as a CHR official, is clearly not fit for the job.  He is biased, partial and even malicious in the performance of his supposed duty," said Dennis Abarrientos, Secretary General of Karapatan – Central Visayas.

Special Investigator III Cañete gloated in a Philippine News Agency story that Karapatan is "pathetic" in filing charges against government officials and that it leave Negros Oriental and stay in Negros Occidental.

Karapatan junks AFP proposal for "people's participation" in counter-insurgency plan

Karapatan junks AFP proposal for "people's participation" in counter-insurgency plan; 
cites human rights violations in Marihatag, Surigao de Sur
 

The human rights alliance, KARAPATAN, dismissed current AFP proposals for "people's participation" in counter-insurgency operations as it revealed grave human rights violations in the on-going AFP military campaign in Brgy. Mahaba, Marihatag, Surigao del Sur.

About 164 families with 754 individuals, including 98 children ages 0 to 5 years old and seven pregnant women, in three sitios of Palompon, Boringon and Loknodon of Barangay Mahaba in Marihatag, Surigao del Sur province, Mindanao, were displaced as a result of the military operations under Oplan Bantay-Laya extended by Pres. Aquino.

Troops of the 36th IB PA under Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Rene Canete and elements of the Scout Rangers; Surigao del Sur under PNP Director Quinonez conducted the local operations.

Last August 22, Marihatag local government officials initiated a dialogue between the residents and the government forces.  The commanding officer of the 36th IBPA, Lt. Col. Rene Canete and 1Lt. Serihim Temperante, attended the dialogue as well as the barangay council members of Brgy. Mahaba.  The residents pleaded with the soldiers to leave their community but they refused citing the National Government’s anti-insurgency campaign as justification of their presence.

Karapatan condemns continuing rights violations, calls for an end to OBL

The human rights alliance Karapatan condemns the brazen attack against Fr. Jose Francisco Talaban, whose convent was strafed by several armed men last June 26 in Casiguran, Aurora, and the continuing human rights violations spurred by the military’s extended counter-insurgency program Oplan Bantay Laya.

Speaking at a press conference on the report of the Ecumenical Solidarity Mission which was conducted on August 24 to 28, Karapatan Deputy Secretary General Jigs Clamor expressed alarm over the Mission’s findings which shows a characteristic pattern of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in its counter-insurgency campaign. 

“Karapatan has documented a number of cases wherein the victims are vilified as members or sympathizers of armed revolutionary groups, such as the New People’s Army; harassed and intimidated by state security forces, prior to graver human rights violations,” Clamor deplored.  

Families of desaparecidos march to Mendiola

 

Noynoy, where is justice?

Families of desaparecidos called on the Aquino administration to act immediately to surface all victims of enforced disappearances, as they march to Mendiola on the International Day of the Disappeared.  

Led by Desaparecidos (Families of the Disappeared for Justice), families brought masks bearing the faces of the 206 victims disappeared during the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo regime. 

Desaparecidos deputy secretary general Lorena Santos criticized the continued silence and inaction of the Aquino government on the cases of enforced disappearances. 

“How can we truly believe that Pres. Noynoy Aquino is sincere in resolving cases of human rights violatios, if it continues to be silent on the thousands of human rights violations under Arroyo? How can we be at peace if Arroyo and her former minions who were behind extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances are comfortably sitted in the halls of Congress,” Santos said. 

Victims of Arroyo regime to P-Noy: Hold the perpetrators accountable now!

In commemoration of the International Day of the Disappeared, families of victims of human rights violations under Arroyo under the banner of Hustisya (Victims of Arroyo Regime United for Justice) marched to Mendiola today. 

“We call for the immediate surfacing of the 206 victims of enforced disappearances under Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, at the same time that we call for justice for the 1,206 victims of extrajudicial killings,” said Evangeline Hernandez, spokesperson of Hustisya. 

KARAPATAN warns P-Noy not to wash his hands on Hacienda Luisita issue

The National Council of the human rights watchdog Karapatan joins farmers and supporters in a mass by Bishop Teodoro C. Bacani dedicated to Hacienda Luisita workers at the Santo Domingo Church, and warned President Benigno Aquino III “not to wash his hands” on the controversial land dispute.

KARAPATAN Chairperson Marie Hilao-Enriquez said, on the eve of a Supreme Court en banc hearing of oral arguments on the case, that “Pres. Aquino should take the initiative to revoke the stock distribution option (SDO) as already decided by the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council in 2005, nullify the sham compromise deal of the Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI) management, and immediately implement the long overdue land distribution to farmers and farm workers.

“Not in the name of human rights, not one day more!” – Karapatan

 

On the AFP Extension of Oplan Bantay Laya II

“Not in the name of human rights, not one day more!” – Karapatan

The human rights alliance Karapatan assailed the extension of Oplan Bantay Laya II announced by Armed Forces Chief Lt. Gen. Ricardo David last Sunday.

Karapatan Chairperson Marie Hilao Enriquez scored the AFP for claiming that they would “emphasize the respect and upholding of human rights,” for it is one of the thrusts of President Benigno Aquino III. “This is the height of deception and distortion by the AFP and the President to lull the people into accepting this abominable counter-insurgency strategy which was already found by both local and international bodies to be one of the reasons for the series of killings and enforced disappearances committed against activists and critics of the US-Arroyo regime.  It is now becoming clear that this Aquino II regime is nothing but a continuation of its predecessor in terms of human rights,’’ Enriquez declares.

The Aquino II administration must stop deceiving the people. “Not in the name of human rights,” Enriquez said.  “The bloody record of Oplan Bantay Laya has shown the AFP’s total disregard for human rights.  Its mercenary tradition has shown not even a modicum of respect but rather total contempt of human rights,” she added.

On Presidential EO forming the Truth Commission:

KARAPATAN reiterates its call to P-Noy: End impunity, prosecute Gloria Arroyo and state security forces involved in human rights violations under her watch! 

Now that President Benigno S. Aquino III has already signed the Executive Order forming the Truth Commission, we at Karapatan, ask him:  Will PNoy’s government lead the prosecution of Mrs.Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the military and police personnel involved in human rights violations from 2001- end June 2010?

The Palace has said that the Truth Commission will “investigate reports of graft and corruption of such scale and magnitude that shock and offend the moral and ethical sensibilities of the people.”  The President’s spokesperson, Mr. Edwin Lacierda said  “[The commission’s] job is to investigate and seek the truth in the grave allegations of graft and corruption during the past nine years that allegedly involved government officials and their conspirators in the private sector.”

It is good and proper that these anomalies must be investigated and we hope that prosecution and punishment of those found guilty will also be done.

But we maintain that human rights violations cases must be viewed also as cases “of such scale and magnitude that shock and offend the moral and ethical sensibilities of the people” and thus, must also be prioritized by government so that impunity that attend the commission of these crimes must be put to an end.  The victims are still crying for justice up to now.

Rights group slams separation of newborn from detained mother;

Rights group slams separation of newborn from detained mother; calls for immediate release of mother and child from detention and the release of all political prisoners

The human rights alliance Karapatan strongly calls for the immediate release of the 43 illegally detained health workers, collectively known as Morong 43, starting with the release of Carina "Judilyn" Oliveros who gave birth to a baby boy on July 22, 2010 at the Philippine General Hospital.

"Oliveros should be immediately released with her baby and we strongly protest the planned separation of mother from child," Karapatan chairperson Marie Hilao-Enriquez said. Bureau of Jail Management and Penology officers at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City are planning to take back to the Camp on Monday, August 3, the mother, Judilyn Oliveros, who belongs to the illegally detained health workers or the Morong 43, without the baby because they said that babies are prohibited from being reared inside the detention cell.

“We completely agree that conditions in the detention are not good for the baby AS WELL AS FOR THE NURSING MOTHER; and that is why we STRONGLY CALL for the IMMEDIATE RELEASE OF JUDILYN OLIVEROS AND HER BABY!, “ Enriquez said.  “The continuous detention of the health workers or the Morong 43, is in itself already very tenuous, I don’t know how the courts can legally defend such a violation!  And then this dispensation will further aggravate the situation by cruelly separating the baby from his source of nourishment, love and comfort, practically violating the baby’s basic rights,” she added.

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