Monday, April 04, 2005

NR0401: Solons to bring HR violations in IPU assembly

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran
News Release April 1, 2005
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, Chief of Staff
Cellphone number 09213907362

Anakpawis solons lift fast, commits to highlight human rights violations and mounting political repression in upcoming 11th Inter-Parliamentary Union assembly

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran who along with fellow Anakpawis solon Rafael Mariano held a three-day fast since March 30 said that the upcoming Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) meeting will be a venue for progressive legislators to ventilate the steadily increasing number of human rights violations in the country, the worst of which are the brutal killing of activists and journalists, and the abduction and harassment of members of cause oriented people's organizations. He and Mariano will be attending the IPU gathering as observers.

"Primary among our duties as elected representatives of the Filipino people is to speak out against the gross attacks against civil liberties and democratic rights. The facts speak for themselves - 32 activists have been killed since January 2005, and the national government has not lifted a finger to assist the families and the organizations the victims represent in finding the killers and bringing them to justice."

Included in the 7-item agenda of the Assembly which is to take place from April 3-8 at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) is on the role of parliaments in the establishment and functioning of mechanisms to provide for the judgment and sentencing of war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and terrorism with a view to avoiding impunity. Discussions on this will be headed by the Committee on Peace and International Security.

" As legislators, we are given the duty to come up with laws and resolutions supposedly protecting the people's civil and human right; but here we have civilians and activists espousing legitimate concerns, advocating pro-people reform being hunted down. " he said.

Beltran said that he also intends to share with foreign counterparts the developments in the crafting of a Philippine anti-terrorism law and the implementation of a national ID system. "Our foreign counterparts and the parliaments and governments they represent would do well to know how these draconian measures are met by strong wave of protests from the civilian populace, and what moves progressive legislators are taking to thwart their passage and implementation."

"As for impunity, it's clear that the masterminds and perpetrators of the killings have so far gotten away with their crimes, and the Macapagl-Arroyo administration has expressed neither alarm nor concern. As long as the powers that be continues to flout human rights and blatantly disregard the political rights of the Filipino people, the government's declarations regarding the promotion of democracy and human rights will be greeted with cynicism and even outrage."

The veteran labor leader said that he personally does not have any intent to embarrass the Macapagal-Arroyo administration in the eyes of the international community and foreign legislators, "But it would be a crime against the Filipino people to remain silent on the mounting number of atrocities being committed against civilians by the government's armed forces and other mercenary elements on the military pay-roll. The Philippines is not only in the running for being the most corrupt country, it's also among the most violent in the world. Activists and journalists are fair game here," he said. #


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