[Press Release] International Rights Group says: P-NOY must step up efforts to free our country from human rights abuse and injustice – Amenesty International

International Rights Group says: P-NOY must step up efforts to free our country from human rights abuse and injustice, on the eve of Independence Day

On the eve of Philippine Independence Day, Amnesty International highlighted the continuing human rights abuse and called on President Aquino to step up efforts to free our country, especially Mindanao from impunity and injustice. This call was made by Amnesty International when it launched its Annual Human Rights report 2011 at Dynasty Hotel in Cagayan de Oro City on Saturday, June 11.

“Unlawful killings continue in our country under the Aquino government and justice remains elusive. The families of victims  of the Maguindanao massacre suffer from delayed justice, “ said Mr. Ritz Lee Santos III, Chairperson of Amnesty International Philippines.

“We are celebrating our independence from colonization this June 12 but we cannot celebrate freedom from human rights abuses. We cannot celebrate freedom from injustice in our country unless President Aquino and high officials of the Philippine government will step up their efforts to fight impunity and injustice,”  declared Dr. Aurora Parong, Director of Amnesty International Philippines.

Amnesty International’s report noted the killing of six journalists in 2010, including radio reporter Desiderio Camangyan in Mati City and Nestor Bedolido in Digos City.  The report also stated that more than 200 cases of enforced disappearances recorded in the last decade remained unresolved, as did at least 305 cases of extrajudicial execution (with some estimates ranging as high as 1,200). Almost no perpetrators of these crimes have been brought to justice.

The human rights group reported that private armed groups continued to operate throughout the country, despite government commitments to disband and disarm them. It noted that President Aquino vowed to disband and dis-arm private armies but refused to abolish CVOs, the CAFGU and police auxiliary units.

“President Aquino has to take concrete steps to disband the private armies in order to curb human rights abuses, especially in Mindanao. The trial of the alleged perpetrators of the Maguindanao massacre must be hastened if we do not want the slow justice to be turned in favour of the perpetrators. ,” asserted Mr. Santos.

Amnesty International’s  report also stated that in the Philippines, three indigenous peoples were victims of extrajudicial killings in the past year. It also noted the debates on sexual and reproductive rights in Congress. Amnesty International has publicly stated that the Reproductive Health Bill as they are in Congres, at the Senate and the House of representatives, is a step towards improving the rights to health especially of women and girls. The organization also said that the Reproductive health bill will improve access of marginalized sectors of society and those living in poverty to information and services necessary for decision making regarding their family.

At the global level, Amnesty International reported that:

Torture occurred in 98 countries
Unfair trials occurred in 54 countries
Prisoners of conscience are held in jails in 48 countries
Unlawful restrictions of freedom of expression occurred in 89 countries.

“2/3 of the peoples of the world do not have access to justice. We are launching a Global Call to Action to tip the scales against repression and injustice. We appeal to leaders of the world, including those in Asia to adopt a rights- based governance. In the Philippines, we call on President Aquino and high government officials to help tip the scales for justice and human rights in our country.  We hope that President Aquino will not let the legacy of impunity and injustice left by the Arroyo government to be immortalized.“ appealed Dr. Aurora Parong.

Amnesty International is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary. The anniversary comes against the backdrop of a changing human rights landscape, as people across the Middle East and North Africa courageously confront oppression, tyranny and corruption – often in the face of bloodshed and state violence. These protests dramatically demonstrate the need for international solidarity on human rights.

Amnesty International called on the peoples of the world to join its three million members and supporters worldwide to take action for human rights. Amnesty International monitors human rights in more than 150 countries and territories of the world.  Amnesty International was awarded the Noble Peace Prize in 1977.

Press Release
Saturday, June 11, 2011, Cagayan de Oro City


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