Saturday, April 01, 2006

Visit Ka Bel in prison, New Zealand ambassador urged

From the Office of Anakpawis Representative Crispin B. Beltran
Lisa C. Ito, Public Information Officer (+63)927.796.7006
Tel. # (+632) 426-9442 Email:
URL: http://

March 31, 2006

Visit Ka Bel in prison, New Zealand ambassador urged

New Zealanders outraged over the continuing illegal detention of Anakpawis Congressman Crispin Beltran have written to their ambassador in the Philippines, requesting that he personally visit the 73-year old solon currently detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) General Hospital in Camp Crame.

In a letter to New Zealand Ambassador to the Philippines Robert Moore-Jones, Murray Hurton, Secretary of the Philippines Solidarity Network of Aotearoa (PSNA) of Christchurch, New Zealand expressed appreciation that New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark "responded positively to the urgent request from ourselves and numerous others, and personally raised the issue with President Macapagal-Arroyo of the systematic violation of human rights that arose from her imposition of the State of National Emergency in February".

Prime Minister Clark visited the Philippines last March 13.

"Ms Clark's visit to the Philippines this month coincidentally provided a once in 20 years opportunity for a New Zealand Prime Minister to personally tell a Philippine President that this country cares about the systematic human rights violations in that country. New Zealand has an obligation to keep up the pressure on the Philippine government to restore and respect the human rights of its long suffering people," Hurton said in the letter, a copy of which was furnished to the office of Congressman Beltran today.

Hurton also exhorted Moore-Jones to pay a personal visit to Cong. Beltran as a gesture of solidarity.

"We urge you to personally visit Representative Beltran in prison to make it clear that New Zealand cares for his welfare, and that the Embassy has a monitor in court at any hearings of charges against him and those facing similar charges," Hurton requested to Moore-Jones.

"This action would be a logical progression from NZAID co-sponsoring the United Nations Development Agency's 2005 Human Rights Report on the Philippines, which came complete with an Introduction from the NZ Ambassador, saying that New Zealand cares about human rights in the Philippines," Hurton stressed.

"We urge you to call upon the Philippines to release Congressman Crispin Beltran and the other political prisoners seized during the State of Emergency, and that the threat of arrest be lifted from the five other Party List Representatives currently besieged in the sanctuary of Congress," Hurton said.

Despite his humble origins, Beltran came to be an internationally-known labor leader and activist, as the former Chairperson of the International League of Peoples' Struggles (ILPS). He is known in at least 83 countries and in international multi-lateral organizations such as the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the United Nations.

Cong. Beltran's wife Rosario, expressed hopes that Ambassador Moore-Jones would acknowledge the PSNA's request and pay a formal visit to Cong. Beltran at the Room 1 of the PNP General Hospital.


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