Saturday, March 18, 2006

KARAPATAN brings human rights cases to UN, asks body to intervene for Beltran's release

March 17, 2006

KARAPATAN brings human rights cases to UN, asks body to intervene for Beltran's release

KARAPATAN, an umbrella organization of human rights organizations, will be filing with the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) in New York today charges of human rights violations by the Macapagal-Arroyo administration.

Marie Hilao-Enriquez, KARAPATAN Secretary General, said that they will be filing, under the optional protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, several complaints involving the summary execution of human rights workers Benjaline Hernandez and Eden Marcellana, peasant leader Eddie Gumanoy, Mindoro activist Choy Napoles as well as the frustrated killing of another activist, Ruel Landicho.

Enriquez said the cases represent the prevalent practice of extra-judicial, summary execution of activists, human rights workers, peasant and union leaders, journalists and priests by suspected state security agents.

UNHRC Special Rapporteur Rafael Rivas Posada has granted Enriquez and Edre Olalia, legal counsel for the four cases, a meeting on March 16 at 5:30 p.m.(US time) at the UN Headquarters in New York, where the UNHRC is presently holding its session.

In 2003, the UNHRC, in its Concluding Observations on the Philippine human rights situation, expressed concern about "the lack of appropriate measures to investigate crimes allegedly committed by state security forces and agents, in particular those committed against human rights defenders, journalists…and the lack of measures takes to prosecute and punish the perpetrators."

The UNHRC has also stated its "concern at reports of intimidation and threats of retaliation impeding the right to an effective remedy for persons whose rights and freedoms have been violated."

The rights activists will also file the complaint for arbitrary detention with prayer for action to request for the release of Anakpawis Party List Rep. Crispin Beltran from arbitrary detention pending investigation with the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

While in a meeting with Mr. Posada, Filipino-American activists in New York, led by BAYAN-USA, will hold a vigil outside the UN premises to support KARAPATAN's filing and call attention to the worsening human rights situation in the Philippines.

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