Tag Archives: Enforced Disappearance

[Statement] AFAD Commemorates the UN International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances

AFAD Commemorates the UN International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances
30th August, 2021

Manila: Today, on the occasion of International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) remembers the victims across the globe and extends solidarity to the families of the disappeared and countless human rights defenders fighting to put an end to impunity amid great challenges. According to the United Nations, enforced disappearance is more than “a human rights violation against an individual”. Enforced disappearances affect the entire family of the victim and is “used as a strategy to spread terror within the society”.

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[Statement] The Paradox in Eliminating the Enforced Disappearance in Asia -Asia Alliance against Torture and Ill-Treatment

Joint Statement of the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances: The Paradox in Eliminating the Enforced Disappearance in Asia
Asia Alliance against Torture and Ill-Treatment
August 30, 2020

The Asia Alliance Against Torture (A3T) condemns the practice of enforced disappearances that continues to occur in Asia. It is a cruel practice that perpetuates impunity, where the government shows no political will to investigate and solve cases of enforced disappearance. Marking today’s annual commemoration of the International Day of the Disappeared, the A3T would like to highlight the paradoxical process in eliminating the enforced disappearance in Asia.

The enforced disappearance is not a new phenomenon in Asia. It has become a scourge that haunted civilians’ rights, safety, and dignity, significantly the protection of human rights defenders. The practice of enforced disappearance has been systematically used by the state to suppress opposition and terrorize society. In some armed conflicts, the militant organizations also adopted this practice to deal with their opponents. In the past, the political condition often forced the state to oppress any disturbance, without fulfilling its responsibility afterward. In most Asian countries, it is experienced that families of enforced disappearances are waiting for justice from 1960 until today, which is shameful, and at the same time, painful for the families of the disappeared.

According to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, the state shall take appropriate measures to investigate the enforced disappearance promptly, impartially, and without delay and bring those responsible to justice. The state also shall take the necessary steps to ensure that enforced disappearance constitutes an offense under its criminal law. This international instrument should have been a comprehensive and solid foundation to eliminate enforced disappearance in every country in Asia. But, in reality, the enforcement process is ambiguous. The paradox in eliminating the enforced disappearance in Asia is shown by some countries in Asia that ratified the Convention but still violating it at the same time. It is also a regular affair of the judiciary, which is reluctant to hear the matters of enforced disappearances. There are examples where vital documents are missing from the police and the courts. Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Philippine, China are heading the list. Widji Thukul, Wanchalearm Satsaksit, and others as human rights defenders have been missing, and their fate and whereabouts are still unknown.

By ratifying the Convention, the state binds to the commitment to protect all persons from enforced disappearance and investigate enforced disappearance cases. Also, the state binds to the victims’ responsibility, such as restitution, rehabilitation, satisfaction, and guarantees of non-repetition. Unfortunately, thousands of people remain victims in Asia. Investigations have not been conducted, and the victims’ whereabouts remain unknown. The victims and their families still suffer from past wounds, and no full reparation is guaranteed. While many human rights defenders criticize the lack of political will in investigating the enforced disappearance cases, they are also vulnerable to the enforced disappearance itself. While they fight for the victims and their families’ rights, they are subjected to enforced disappearance. This situation is the paradox where the state is already committed to upholding human rights and simultaneously failing its commitments. It also evolves into a cycle where the state could not investigate the past and recent enforced disappearance; then, civilians urged the state to resolve the cases; the state oppresses the critics by practicing the enforced disappearance. In the end, no cases were resolved. No victims were found and returned to their families. No victims’ families obtained the reparation that they deserve, and the cycle goes back to the start and going on like that for years.

This paradox needs to end immediately. Any state in Asia shall comply with the convention in the right manner without adding another enforced disappearance case. Hence, A3T urges the states in Asia to:
1. Fully respect the rule of law regarding human rights and the enforced disappearance;
2. Impartially investigate the past and recent cases of enforced disappearance, and bring those responsible to justice with appropriate penalties which take into account the offense’s extreme seriousness;
3. Effectively provide fair, accessible protection for the rights of the victims and their families;
4. Adequately protect human rights defenders, activists, and academics seeking accountability and responsibility for enforced disappearance.
5. Immediately ratify International Convention on Enforced Disappearances by those nations that have not ratified it yet.

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[Event] #EndEnforcedDisappearance Poster-Making Competition -AFAD

#EndEnforcedDisappearance Poster-Making Competition

Background:
Enforced disappearance is one of the cruelest offenses that can be committed against a human person. For Desaparecidos (disappeared victims) and their families, it involves multiple violations of many of the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Clearly, enforced disappearance wreaks a devastating impact on people. The concealment of the fate and whereabouts of the disappeared leaves their relatives in a perpetual state of anguish. The violence of this offense particularly when it is massively or systematically carried out affects not only the disappeared and their families but also communities and societies. In many cases, enforced disappearance is blatantly used to silence and sow fear among people.

As of March 30, 2020, the Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND) has recorded a total of 2,147 reported victims of enforced disappearance nationwide from the Marcos regime to the current Duterte administration.

In observance of the International Week of the Disappeared this month, the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) and FIND recognize the role of young people in spreading awareness on the prevalence and impact of enforced disappearance not only in the Philippines but also in Asia.

Competition mechanics

1. Theme: Posters must reflect the overall theme, #EndEnforcedDisappearance: Upholding the Rule of Law. Posters may convey one or more specific themes, guided by the questions below:

What can young people do to end enforced disappearance?
How can the government, schools, community, and other institutions help end enforced disappearance?
How can we use mass media and social media to end enforced disappearance?

2. Who can join: The competition is open to young people aged 17 to 26 years. Family members and relatives of AFAD’s employees are not allowed to enter the competition.

3. Entries: Posters submitted must be all-original, unpublished, and not previously submitted to other competitions. Posters must be hand-drawn using any medium (watercolor, oil pastel, acrylic, crayons, etc.) or mixed media except collage of printed materials. Poster size should be 15 inches x 20 inches or ¼ illustration board and design must be in landscape (horizontal) format.

4. Submission: You may email a high-resolution photograph or scanned soft copy of your artwork to AFAD via afad@surfshop.net.ph on or before May 25, 2020. Please attach your photographed artwork or scanned copy of your artwork to your email with the subject: Entry to #EndEnforcedDisappearance poster-making competition. Please include the following information in your email: Title of the poster, the material used (e.g. watercolor, oil pastel, etc.), full name, nickname, age, address, and landline and/or mobile numbers.

Please keep your original artwork. AFAD will collect all entries; some of which will be showcased in August, in commemoration of the International Day of the Disappeared, and in other advocacy activities of AFAD.

5. Copyright. By participating in this poster-making competition, the contestant certifies that the submitted artwork is a single work of original material created solely by the participant and no other party has any right, title, claim, or interest in the poster. Names and logos of schools and organizations are not allowed to appear in the poster entries. Winning entries will be deemed the property of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances.
Participants may only submit one entry.
Winning entries will also be featured in AFAD’s 2021 calendar. Original artwork/hard copies will be displayed in exhibits mounted by AFAD.

6. Criteria. The criteria for judging will be as follows:
Relevance to the theme: 40%
Creativity and visual impact: 30%
Originality: 30%
7. Prizes:
1st Place: P12,000
2nd Place: P8,500
3rd Place: P4,500

8. Announcement of Winners. Winners will be notified via text, call or email by AFAD staff on May 28, 2020. The awarding of winners will take place in an event in celebration of the AFAD 22nd Anniversary on June 4, 2020, in Metro Manila. Posters shall be uploaded on the AFAD Facebook page on May 29, 2020.

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[Tula] Sabi nila’y “Presente” ni Greg Bituin Jr.

“Presente”, ang sabi nilang may hawak na larawan
sa taunang Kalbaryo ng Kawalang Katarungan
patunay na ang mahal nila’y di nalilimutan
na winala noon, di na makita ang katawan

sila’y iwinala gayong pinaglaban ang tama
pagbabago ang adhika, bayan ay mapalaya
mula sa kuko ng mapagsamantala’t kuhila
hanggang ngayon, ang hinahanap na hustisya’y wala

“Presente” para sa lahat ng desaparesidos
ito rin ang sigaw kong nakikibaka ng lubos
sigaw rin ng ibang ang pakikibaka’y di tapos
na sa masa’y patuloy pang naglilingkod ng taos

tuloy ang paghahanap sa katawan at hustisya
ng mga nagmamahal at naulilang pamilya
hiling na kahit katawan sana’y matagpuan na
“Presente”, hustisyang asam nawa’y kamtin na nila

– gregbituinjr.
04.11.2020

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[Tula] Walang matuluyan, mawalang tuluyan -ni Greg Bituin

(tula sa International Week of the Disappeared)

mas mabuti pang ako’y walang matuluyan
kaysa naman tulad ko’y mawalang tuluyan
kung walang matuluyan, mag-ingat sa daan
mahirap nang mawala’t madukot ng halang

Daigdigang Linggo ng Desaparesido
ay ating gunitain ngayong linggong ito
nawa mahal nila’y matagpuang totoo
at kanilang kamtin ang hustisya sa mundo

sa huling linggo ng Mayo ginugunita
itong linggo ng sapilitang pagkawala
paghanap sa kanila’y walang patumangga
ang sakit na nadarama’y tila ba sumpa

nawa’y matapos na ang pasakit at dusa
pagkat mahal sa buhay ay natagpuan na

– gregbituinjr./05/30/2019

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[From the web] On our 12th Year Commemoration (By Mary Ann Burgos) -Free Jonas Burgos Movement

Three days after my daughter was discharged from a 5-day stay in the hospital, we got the news about the delisting. 625 names, one name of which is my husband’s, Jonas Joseph Burgos.

A solo-parent for 12 years since Jonas’ abduction, day to day living has not been easy for my daughter and myself. And to hear that the government has petitioned the UN-WGEID to delist the 625 names! This is like scraping an open wound right to the bone.

Undersecretary Severo Catura of the Presidential Human Rights Committee never consulted any victim or any of their families nor did he get his information from the CHR.

Catura’s premises for the delisting are all false.

1. Legal reliefs for ED cases such as the Writs of Habeas Corpus and Amparo, do not work. In the case of Jonas, we were granted the Writs. We won the case but Jonas remains missing. The AFP did not comply with the order of the Supreme Court. Plus, Baliaga was acquitted.

Read more @freejonasburgosmovement.blogspot.com

Support #KarapatDapat na Agenda campaign! Click the video to know more.

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[Statement] AFAD expresses concern over the delisting of cases in UNWGEID

AFAD expresses concern over the delisting of cases in UNWGEID

The Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) expresses serious concerns over the proposal of the government of the Philippines to delist 625 cases from 1975 to 2012 of enforced or involuntary disappearances from the records of the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (UNWGEID).

Even before the news broke out, AFAD, having meetings with the Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the UN in Geneva, suspected that the purpose of the Philippine Mission in meeting the WGEID in Sarajevo was to “clarify” the existing 625 cases because the latter expressed that such cases were old cases that occurred during the Marcos period. The news from the Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed the suspicion.

Although it may appear that the Philippine government is taking a step towards engaging with the UNWGEID, it is an attempt to suppress the truth and conceal the fate of the disappeared. This decision by the Philippine Mission has come without credible investigations into the cases and thus it points to its dubious intentions. Before making the proposal to the WGEID, the Philippine Government could have coordinated with the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines and NGOs that have direct contacts with the family members of the disappeared, who will be affected by the delisting.

Enforced disappearance is a continuing crime. Section 21 of RA 10353 provides that “An act constituting enforced or involuntary disappearance shall be considered a continuing offence as long as the perpetrators continue to conceal the fate and whereabouts of the disappeared person and such circumstances have not been determined with certainty.” The Article 8 of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance likewise provides for the continuing character of the crime.

Delisting cases is tantamount to deleting evidence of the disappearance, thus is contrary to the right to truth enshrined in the Convention. Moreover, it is contrary to the very elements of transitional justice, which are truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence.
The families of the disappeared have the right to know the truth about what happened to their loved ones. It is their right to be informed about every step of the investigation that is initiated in case of disappearance and the results of the investigation. For the families of the disappeared, who have fought for long for truth and justice, this proposal by the Philippine government is disappointing as it takes away hopes of justice.

The delisting of the cases would mean impunity of the perpetrators and will not ensure that this is not repeated in the future. It defeats the very purpose of the Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act, which the Philippine Government enacted in 2012.
AFAD urges the Philippine Government to not serve as a negative example to other Asian governments to likewise delist cases, but instead pose itself as a model to its co-UN members by considering first and foremost in all its actions the interest of victims of human rights violations.

Finally, AFAD urges the Philippine government to finally respond to the incessant official requests of the UNWGEID for official invitation to visit the country. Moreover, AFAD reiterates its call on the Philippine Government to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and to recognize the competence of the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances.

Signed by:

KHURRAM PARVEZ
Chairperson

MARY AILEEN D. BACALSO
Secretary-General

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[In the news] Families of desaparecidos slam PH plan to delist cases from U.N. -RAPPLER.com

Families of desaparecidos slam PH plan to delist cases from U.N.

Families of victims “strongly object” to the move of the Philippine government to have official records of enforced disappearances deleted from the United Nations (UN).

In a statement, the Free Jonas Burgos Movement called the plan “insulting” to many families who are striving to seek justice for their missing loved ones.

“It is disrespectful, totally disregarding and dismissing the suffering of the families of all the missing,” the group said on Monday, February 18. “It is an attack against all of us who continue to be uncertain about the fate and whereabouts of our relatives.”

Read full article @www.rappler.com

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[In the news] De Lima urges Duterte to ratify UN treaty on enforced disappearances -Inquirer.net

De Lima urges Duterte to ratify UN treaty on enforced disappearances

MANILA, Philippines — To provide stronger mechanisms against enforced disappearances in the country, opposition Senator Leila de Lima is urging President Rodrigo Duterte to ratify the United Nations (UN) treaty on enforced disappearances.

De Lima has filed Senate Resolution No. 969 which urged the President to ratify the United Nations International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (CED) to “strengthen access to justice and the right to effective remedy.”

Read full article @newsinfo.inquirer.net

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[Urgent Appeal] Enforced Disappearance of Phillip Bacudo, 19 years old in General Santos City, Mindanao, Philippines. -TFDP

URGENT APPEAL
December 11, 2017

(PHILIPPINES) Enforced Disappearance of Phillip Bacudo, 19 years old in General Santos City, Mindanao, Philippines.
__________

Dear friends,

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) writes to inform you about the enforced disappearance of Phillip Espiritu Bacudo, 19 years old, in General Santos City, Mindanao, Philippines.

If you wish to make any inquiries please contact the Research, Documentation and Information Program of TFDP, kindly send email to tfdp.1974@gmail.com or call +632 4378054.
__________

Title: Bacudo DIS
Case: Enforced Disappearance
Victim: Phillip Espiritu Bacudo, 19 years old
Date of Incident: November 10, 2017; 2:00 A.M.
Place of Incident: Near Velox Energy Gasoline Station, Mabuhay Road, Barangay City Heights, General Santos City
Alleged Perpetrators: Unknown masked man in motorcycle and members of the Philippine National Police of Police Station 4, General Santos City  Motive: suspected petty criminal
Rights Violated: Freedom of movement; Right to safety and security of person; Right not to be disappeared; Right to life
_____________________________________________________________________________
Account of the incident:

On November 10, 2017 around 2:00 a.m., Phillip Espiritu Bacudo, 19 years old was forcibly arrested by an unknown motorcycle-riding masked man and members of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

According to Ian Jay Donayre, 17 years old, on November 9, around 10:00 p.m., he and his companions Phillip Imperial, 17, and Jhun Kenneth Lorenzo, together with Bacudo, decided to go for a drink at Fastlane Bar located near Bulaong Terminal, Barangay North. At about 1:00 a.m., they decided to go home in a blue tricycle that Lorenzo drove. When they reached the national highway near Jollibee, they encountered a motorcycle-riding man who hissed and pointed his finger at them. Donayre and his friends were alarmed when the man made a U-turn and chased them. The man pulled out a gun from his side and fired a warning shot. Because of fright, Donayre and his friends dropped from their seats. Lorenzo revved up the motorcycle. Imperial looked back and saw the motorcycle-riding man followed by a police patrol car with blinking colored lights. The motorcycle and the patrol car chased after them.

Lorenzo decided to turn to Mabuhay road and saw a dark alley near Velox Energy Gasoline Station. The tricycle rammed the rope of the gasoline station and went straight to the dark alley. Donayre decided to jump out of the motorcycle and landed on a grassy area. He hid and saw the motorcycle and the patrol car follow the tricycle to the interior of the dark alley. Donayre decided to leave after the two vehicles passed by. He went home aboard a hired motorcycle. Imperial, who also jumped off the motorcycle ran towards a place where there were houses. He then went home leaving his pair of slippers behind.

Dominador Parayag Pulido, Jr., 29 years old, a security guard of Velox Energy Gasoline Station, was on duty when he noticed a blue tricycle in full speed pass by the gasoline station. He saw the tricycle ram the rope of the cordoned gasoline station then proceeded to the interior road leading to the back portion of the gasoline station. The tricycle was chased by a black XRM motorcycle driven by a person wearing a bonnet, bull cap and jacket. A police patrol car also followed the two vehicles. Minutes after, Pulido bumped into Donayre who was running from the interior road. After a while, Pulido saw the police patrol car pulling the blue tricycle with a rope. The tricycle was driven by a policeman in blue uniform. The man aboard the XRM motorcycle also came out from the interior road and parked his motorcycle beside the gasoline station. The rider alighted from his motorcycle and went to the back portion of the gasoline station. Later, he emerged holding a crying young man. The man approached Pulido and told him to hold the young man while he gets his motorcycle. Pulido agreed and the man left. Pulido asked the young man where he was from. The young man replied that he is a resident of Barangay Calumpang, General Santos City.

The rider then returned with his motorcycle. He tied the hands of the young man with a belt. The young man was made to sit in front of the motorcycle while the rider maneuvered it and followed the police patrol car which was pulling the blue motorcycle.

Bernard Capote Bacudo and Susana Espiritu Bacudo noticed that their son, Phillip was not able to come home in the evening of November 9. They thought that their son slept at his work place since he was just hired as a welder at the GPH Company.

At the early morning of November 11, Bernard decided to look for his son. He went to the house of Lorenzo and was able to talk with his mother. She told him that they have a big problem since the motorcycle of Lorenzo’s brother-in-law is in the custody of the police. Bernard did not pay much attention to her story since he was more focused on finding his son.

Lorenzo later faced Bernard and told him what happened at the dawn of November 10. After learning what happened, Bernard returned home and told his wife about it. The Bacudo couple went to the houses of Donayre and Imperial. The two confirmed Lorenzo’s story. They said that they did not know that Phillip was not able to go home.

The Bacudo couple, together with Lorenzo and his mother, Donayre, and Imperial went to place where the incident happened. Bernard was able to talk to one of the residents in the area. The man told him that he saw the police chasing the tricycle and there was one man who was arrested. They then concluded that it was Phillip. Lorenzo told them that the tricycle that he was driving during the incident is at the police compound of police station 4. The group decided to go to the police station.

When they arrived at the police station, they saw the tricycle parked in the compound. Bernard talked to the Assistant Station Commander of Police Station 4, Police Senior Inspector (PSI) Lemuel Enrijo. Bernard asked the police where his son was. Enrijo replied that he did know Phillip’s whereabouts. Enrijo turned to Donayre, Imperial and Lorenzo and told them to answer Bernard’s question as they were with him that day. He even added that Phillip and his friends might have had plans to steal that time because the plate number of the tricycle they used was covered with mud and there was a bamboo stick inside the tricycle that may be used as a ladder. Enrijo also said that the tricycle was abandoned when they recovered it and they just brought it to the police station compound for custody. Bernard was told to blotter the disappearance of his son at Police Station 5 for they are residents of Barangay Calumpang. He was also instructed to name Donayre, Imperial, and Lorenzo as the persons responsible for the disappearance of Phillip for they were his companions when the incident happened.

One of the police at Police Station 4 forced Donayre to admit his crime of stealing. He was accused of being the leader of the group notorious in the city for stealing. Donayre denied the allegation. The police told him not to answer back or else, he will be knocked on the head.

According to Donayre, the reason why the plate number was covered with mud was because the tricycle went out of balance and fell to the muddy area. He further explained that the bamboo inside the tricycle came from a side street near plaza heneral. He pulled it to be used to defend themselves from unidentified men who were throwing stones at them. They were able to escape before the unidentified men reached them.

Bernard went to Police Station 5 to report his son’s disappearance. He said he did not implicate Donayre, Imperial, and Lorenzo, but only mentioned that they were the companions of his son before he disappeared.

The group then went back to Velox Energy Gasoline Station to inquire further about the incident. Bernard learned from the gasoline pump girl that the security guard on duty that time was Jack Jack and he witnessed the incident. The group waited for him until 6:00 p.m. Dominador Parayag Pulido, Jr., a.k.a. Jack Jack, recounted to them the incident. He also told them that he was sure that the incident was recorded in the gasoline station’s CCTV camera for he saw it blinking during the time of the incident.

Bernard convinced Pulido to come with him to the media and tell the story of his son’s disappearance. After they talked, Bernard and his companions went to Brigada TV, to a radio station, and ABS-CBN to ask for help, but they were not entertained for they were already closed and the media men already went home. Bernard went back to Velox Energy Gasoline Station and urged Pulido to help him find his son.

At around 8:00 p.m., someone called Bernard on his phone and told him to go and look for his son at Compact Police Station. The police station was located at Mabuhay Diversion Road. When the group went there, they were not able to find Phillip. The Bacudo couple then decided to go to Camp Fermin Lira, the General Santos City Police Office, to look for their son, but they did not find him.

While at Camp Fermin Lira, the policemen advised the couple to go to Police Station 4 to get the names of the desk officer and the police officers who were on patrol duty during the time that their son disappeared.

The couple then went to Police Station 4 and were able to get the names of the officers on duty. They were identified as PO2 Tribunalo and PO2 Alpad.

The following day, Bernard went to Bombo Radyo to ask for help. He was told that they do not have a lawyer who can help him. Instead, he was advised to go to the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO).

Bernard also went to the ABS-CBN TV station. He was instructed to get the extract blotter of the incident so that his case will be entertained by the news reporter. Bernard went to Police Station 4, but the investigator was not around at that time. He decided to go to Police Station 5 to get the extract of the blotter.

Upon arrival, the investigator told him to bring Donayre, Imperial and Lorenzo for investigation. Bernard went to the houses of the three, but they were not around. He went back to the police station and told the investigator to interview Pulido who witnessed what happened to Phillip.

The police investigator, together with three other police officers and Bernard went to Pulido’s house at Saeg, Barangay Calumpang. Pulido narrated to them what he saw.

The police investigator of Police Station 5 who interviewed Pulido went to Police Station 4 for the blotter. Bernard said that they later found out that there was a different narrative of the story in the police blotter than what actually happened.

On Monday, November 13, Bernard brought to the ABS-CBN station the extract blotter that he got from Police Station 5. He met one of the news reporters and he was advised to meet with Ben Sumog-oy of iDefend General Santos.

Bernard, together with Sumog-oy and the ABS-CBN news crew went to Police Station 4. They were met by PSI Enrijo. He blocked the camera man and told the news crew that they were not allowed to take any footage. Sumog-oy asked Enrijo about the whereabouts of Phillip and how the investigation of his case was being conducted. Enrijo replied that he did not know about Phillip, and if they want, they can file a complaint against them.

Bernard said that he also received information that the CCTV camera records of Velox Energy Gasoline Station was retrieved by the police in the early morning of November 10.

He also recalled that on the night of November 10, there was a black van parked outside the internet shop where Phillip and his friends were regular customers. When the van arrived, there were men who alighted and opened wide the van’s door. The back door was also opened. Bernard believed that his son was inside the vehicle and may have been asked if Donayre, Imperial and Lorenzo were at the internet shop. The three were not around that time.

Bernard further said that after the incident, he noticed that there were two motorcycles with unidentified riders who kept on roving around their place. Donayre and Imperial also noticed this and felt scared.

Through the help of Sumog-oy and iDefend Gensan, Bernard and his family were able to file a petition for Writ of Amparo with Interim Relief of Temporary Protection which was filed by Atty. Mary Ann Arnado last November 20. On November 21, the Writ of Amparo was approved by Judge Lorna Santiago-Avila of RTC Branch 36 in General Santos City.

To date, Bernard and his family have been provided with four policemen to guard them. Bernard said that he also wanted the court to grant protection order for the witnesses of his son’s case. He said that as of this time, Donayre and Imperial are in his custody for their safety. Both parents of the young men support them in seeking justice for Phillip. Lorenzo, on the other hand, refused to cooperate. Pulido has stopped working at the gasoline station. Bernard currently supports him and his family in their daily needs.

Phillip remains missing.

REQUESTED ACTION:

PLEASE SEND LETTERS TO CONCERNED GOVERNMENT AGENCIES TO IMMEDIATELY SURFACE PHILLIP ESPIRITU BACUDO AND BRING TO JUSTICE THE PERPETRATORS OF HIS ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCE, AND ENSURE AND GUARANTEE THE SAFETY AND SECURITY OF HIS FAMILY AND THE WITNESSES TO THE INCIDENT.

Thank you.

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear _________________,

Greetings.

This is to express my grave concern regarding the enforced disappearance of Phillip Espiritu Bacudo, 19 years old in General Santos City, Mindanao, Philippines
On November 10, 2017, around 2:00 a.m., Bacudo was riding in a blue tricycle with three companions along the national highway. They were on their way home from a drinking session at one of the bars near Bulaong terminal.
I have learned that while they were traversing the national highway near Jollibee, they encountered a rider who was pointing his finger and hissing at them. The said rider then made a U-turn and chased them. He also pulled out a gun and fired a warning shot at the group in the tricycle.
The victim and his companions were chased by the unidentified motorcycle rider, who was being followed by a police patrol car until they reached a dark alley beside Velox Energy Gasoline Station at Mabuhay Road.
While the victim’s companions were able to escape, Bacudo was accosted by the motorcycle rider who was wearing a face mask, bull cap, and jacket. Bacudo’s hands were tied and was made to ride the motorcycle with the unidentified man. The motorcycle was followed by the police patrol car, who in turn, was pulling the tricycle where Bacudo’s group rode in.
I express grave concern that after the incident, Bacudo has not been found. His family and companions looked for him in police stations, including the police compound in Camp Fermin Lira, and detention cells, but they were not able to locate him.

Therefore I recommend:

1. That the police immediately surface Phillip Espiritu Bacudo and release him from detention;
2. That government agencies, particularly the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Department of Justice (DOJ), conduct an impartial investigation on the case of Bacudo;
3. That the perpetrators of Bacudo’s disappearance be held accountable;
4. That the safety and security of Bacudo’s family, friends, and witnesses to the incident are ensured and guaranteed.

Thank you.

Respectfully yours,
_______________________

PLEASE SEND LETTERS TO:

1.His Excellency Rodrigo Roa Duterte
President, Republic of the Philippines
Malacanang Palace
JP Laurel Street, San Miguel,
Manila, Philippines
Tel: +63 2 736 8645, +63 2 736 8603, +63 2 736 8606, +63 2 736 8629
Fax: +63 2 736 8621
Email: pace_op@malacanang.gov.ph

2.Gen. Ronald M. Dela Rosa
Police Director General
National Headquarters, Camp Crame,
Quezon City, Philippines
Tel/Fax: +63 2 726 4361; +63 2 899 7504
Website: http://www.pnp.gov.ph/gallery

3.Hon. Jose Luis Martin Gascon
Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights (CHR)
SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue
U.P. Complex, Diliman
Quezon City, Philippines
Tel: +63 2 928 5655, +63 2 926 6188
Fax: +63 2 929 0102
Email Address: chairgascon.chr@gmail.com

4.Sec. Vitaliano N. Aguirre II
Secretary, Department of Justice (DOJ)
Padre Faura Street, Ermita,
Manila, Philippines
Tel: +63 2 521 1908, +63 2 526 5462
Fax: +63 2 523 9548
Email Address: vnaguirre@doj.gov.ph

 

Website: tfdp.net
Facebook: @TaskForceDetainees
Twitter: @TFDPupdates

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[From the web] Families of Desaparecidos and EJK Victims light thousand candles on All Souls’ Day to call for end to state violence

Families of Desaparecidos and EJK Victims light thousand candles on All Souls’ Day to call for end to state violence -www.tfdp.net

Photo by Anni Mustonen

On November 2, 2017, All Souls’ Day, about 50 families of victims of involuntary disappearance and extrajudicial killings lead a gathering of more than a hundred religious, human rights advocates, and activists in lighting thousands of candles and offering prayers for victims of state violence.

While most Filipinos remember their dearly departed on All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, families of desaparecidos have no closure as to the fate of their loved ones and no graves to visit. Members of the Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND) traditionally gather to remember their loved ones. This year, they spend All Souls’ Day with the families of victims of extrajudicial killings (EJKs) under the government’s war on drugs at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani Memorial Center in Quezon City.

“The families of victims of enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings are one in holding the State accountable for these heinous and violent transgressions of human rights,” Nilda Sevilla, FIND Co-chairperson said. “Together, they must break their silence – demand truth, justice, reparation, and guarantees of non-repetition – in order to break impunity,” she added.

According to the group, the event dubbed as “Libong Kandila at Panalangin para sa Libu-libong Biktima ng Karahasan” aims to remember victims, assert the truth about the human rights situation in the country, and urge the Duterte administration to stop perpetrating violence against the people.

“The government in the past few weeks denies that there are EJKs committed under the war on drugs.  We light thousands of candles to symbolize our assertion of the truth. Thousands were killed. Many innocent lives were wasted. Many of our fellow Filipinos witnessed rampant violations of due process under the bloody war on drugs.  Ano ang tawag mo sa patayan at karahasan ng pamahalaan? Paglabag ‘yan sa karapatang pantao,” pointed out Emmanuel Amistad, Executive Director of the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP).

During the mass at the said gathering, Fr. Flaviano ‘Flavie’ Villanueva, SVD, Mission and JPIC Coordinator of SVD Central underscored the sanctity of life. “Ang bawat buhay ng tao ay nagmula sa Diyos. Dahil nagmula sa Kaniya, ang buhay ay sagrado. Ito’y dapat kalingain at pagyamanin. Ngunit kung ating babastusin, binabastos din natin ang Diyos.”

He added, “Marami na ang buhay na nawasak at naulila. Ipagdasal natin sa araw ng mga kaluluwa ang kaluluwa ng mga taong sumisigaw ng katarungan at naghahangad ng kapayapaan. Stop the killings! Start the healing!”

“As religious and consecrated persons, we believe that the wheels of justice should take their course following the proper procedure and operate within the bounds of the law. We demand that the concerned government agencies continue apprehending those involved in drug trafficking but not through extrajudicial killings,” said Sr. Regina Kuizon, RGS, Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP) Co-Chairperson.

One of the relatives of the EJK victims under the war on drugs lamented, “Marami na pong buhay ang nasayang, marami po ang mga inosenteng nadamay. Kung ang otoridad ang lumalabag ng karapatan natin, kanino pa tayo aasa?”

“The Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) strongly condemns the rampant cases of extrajudicial killings and State-sponsored violence,” Aileen Bacalso, AFAD Secretary-General said. “Likewise, we also urge the administration to fully implement the Republic Act 10353 to put an end to cases of enforced disappearance in the country. The inaction of the current administration signifies a travesty of justice and a manifestation of the longstanding culture of impunity in our society,” she added.

The activity is also part of the group’s series of events leading to the commemoration of the International Human Rights Day on December 10, 2017, even as they pledge to mobilize thousands of people to protest against State-sponsored violence.

The group concluded their event with a candle procession.

[Statement] Joint statement on the International Week of the Disappeared – AFAD/FIND/iDEFEND

JOINT STATEMENT ON THE INTERNATIONAL WEEK OF THE DISAPPEARED

As this year’s International Week of the Disappeared begins, we call upon the Philippine Government to end enforced disappearances and bring to justice all perpetrators of this grave human rights violation.

Enforced Disappearance is a phenomenon that is inextricably intertwined with Extra-Judicial Killing and Torture. The recent spate of killings linked with this administration’s war on drugs may have put focus on the end result; the death of thousands of victims. However, reports of these killings have indicated that many victims, prior to being executed, were first abducted as well as tortured. The administration must be reminded that enforced disappearance and torture are against Philippine domestic laws (RA10353 and RA9745 respectively).

We commend the termination of the police officers behind the make-shift secret detention facility discovered in Manila Police Station 1, but we condemn the anti-poor, unscientific, and inhumane policies that have encouraged this widespread and systematic abuse of authority leading to grave human rights violations.

We also remind the administration to strongly consider the recommendations of several UN member states at the recently concluded UN Universal Periodic Review to ratify the Convention Against Enforced Disappearance. Special attention must be given to the fact that the Philippines has submitted 625 outstanding cases of enforced disappearance to the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance.

Indeed, Enforced Disappearance is a global phenomenon that requires a global response. We stand in solidarity with all families of victims of enforced disappearance and extra-judicial killing, especially Latin American families who first commemorated the International Week of the Disappeared in 1981.

The Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD), the Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND), and the In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDefend) demand justice for all victims of enforced disappearance.

End impunity now! End Enforced Disappearance now!

AFAD
FIND
iDefend

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[Event] Kite Flying and Family Day, Intl. Day of the Disappeared

Fly a kite, have breakfast, hold a picnic, show support and solidarity with the families and victims of enforced disappearance on the last day of the International Week of the Disappeared.

*bring your own kites, breakfast, and picnic blanket

#IWD2017

https://www.facebook.com/events/1914444155506207

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ANNOUNCEMENT: AFAD CALL FOR EXTERNAL EVALUATORS

ANNOUNCEMENT: AFAD CALL FOR EXTERNAL EVALUATORS

The Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD), a human rights network of human rights organizations working directly on the issue of enforced disappearances in Asia, is in need of an External Evaluator for its two (2) regional projects. The qualifications for the said External Evaluator include the following:

·         At least 10 years of experience in project evaluation work
·         Must demonstrate knowledge of qualitative and quantitative evaluation methods
·         Must demonstrate knowledge and experience in the treatment of relevant cross-cutting issues
·         Speaks and understands English and preferably, other languages in the Asian region
·         Must demonstrate satisfactory interpersonal skills and experience in dealing with target groups and partners
·         Preferably, with knowledge of human rights and development work
·         Preferably, with experience in evaluation of regional projects

AFAD has allocated One Million One Hundred Sixty Thousand Pesos (PhP 1,160,000.00) as total budget for the external evaluation. This comprise of the external evaluator’s professional fee, and incremental expenses of the external evaluation, including local and international transportation costs, accommodation and meals of evaluator and of the accompanying staff in the preparatory, actual, and post-evaluation process.

Interested applicants should send a Letter of Intent and Curriculum Vitae. Please kindly address the letter to Ms. Mary Aileen D. Bacalso, Secretary-General of AFAD. Please kindly send your applications on or before 13 June 2017.

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[Press Release] TFDP to President Duterte: Marcos’ hero’s burial an insult to Fr. Rudy Romano, enforced disappearance victim during Martial Law

TFDP to President Duterte: Marcos’ hero’s burial an insult to Fr. Rudy Romano, enforced disappearance victim during Martial Law  

Photo by Richie Supan, TFDP

Photo by Richie Supan, TFDP

TFDP logo smallOne of the thousand reasons why Ferdinand Marcos should not be given a hero’s burial is the disappearance of Fr. Rudy Romano thirty-one years ago, according to the human rights group Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP).

TFDP together with other human rights and church groups commemorate the 31st Anniversary of the disappearance of Fr. Rudy Romano in a gathering of human rights defenders, student leaders, teachers, youth and religious leaders on July 9, 2016, at the University of San Jose Recoletos (USJ-R) Auditorium, Magallanes Street, Cebu City and on July 11 at the Museum of Courage and Resistance in Quezon City.

“The enemies of freedom and democracy silenced the voice of a prophet of his time. He dared to stand against tyranny and dictatorship,” Emmanuel Amistad, Executive Director of TFDP said in a statement read during the opening of the said event.

“His voice gave words to the anguish of a people longing for liberation from modern-day slavery and corruption”, he added.

Fr. Rudy Romano of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer was involuntarily disappeared on July 11, 1985 by suspected military men. He has not been seen ever since.

TFDP and other groups take the opportunity of the commemoration of Fr. Rudy’s disappearance not only to remember and honor his martyrdom and heroism, but also as incontrovertible proof of the Marcoses’ atrocities committed against the people.

According to TFDP, Fr. Rudy Romano’s disappearance was an example of how vicious the late dictator was especially in treating critics and human rights defenders, “His (Romano) eyes saw the plunder of the nation’s wealth, the gross human rights violations and the capacity for terror of a regime reeling from the incessant assaults of the people’s resistance,” Amistad said. “Marcos was no hero! A hero’s treatment will be an insult not only to Fr. Romano but also to all those who suffered Marcos’ brutality,” he lamented.

TFDP, Martial Law victims and other human rights groups are protesting against the intention of President Rodrigo Duterte to allow the late Dictator Ferdinand Marcos burial in the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

“Fr. Rudy Romano’s arms sought the arms of the oppressed and linked with them in an act of solidarity. In the struggle to be free, priest and people became one. Truly, the man of God became a man for, and of the people,” Amistad said. “As we remember Fr. Rudy Romano, a martyr and honor him as a hero of the people’s struggle, we call on President Duterte to heed the voice of all victims of the injustice perpetrated by the Marcoses,” he concluded.

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) was established in 1974 by the Association of Major religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP).

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[Statement] AFAD Statement on the Commemoration of the International Week of the Disappeared 2016

AFAD Statement on the Commemoration of the International Week of the Disappeared 2016
Photo by Egay
AFADMay 23-27, 2016 – Every year on this week, the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances, as an integral part of the global movement against enforced disappearances, commemorates the International Week of the Disappeared. First commemorated by the Latin American Federation of Associations of Relatives of Disappeared-Detainees (FEDEFAM) in the early 80s, the International Week of the Disappeared has been adopted by AFAD and has served as a venue to campaign against this abominable practice of enforced disappearance which has spread to at least, 88 countries, 34 of which are Asian countries.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on Enforced Disappearances by the UN General Assembly on 20 December 2006. Unfortunately, during these ten years, enforced disappearances continued to be perpetrated around the world, with Asia being the region with the highest number of reported cases and, still, the region with the least number of ratifications.

The Philippines continues to be the only country in Asia to have a domestic law criminalizing the commission of enforced disappearances. However, the full and effective implementation of the law remains an open challenge.

Enforced disappearance “is a timeless tragedy for relatives and communities abandoned to their plight, without any answer. It is a longing ordeal, with hope against all hope.” (Prof. Emmanuel Decaux, President of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances)

Around the world, family members of victims of this heinous crime continue to suffer from the consequences of the disappearance of their fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters. They continue to live in a state of limbo, trapped between the hope to see them return safely and the pain deriving from the possibility of their death.  The desaparecidos, whose fate and whereabouts remain unknown, continue to be deprived of life and liberty and violated of their civil political as well as economic, social and cultural rights.

The sufferings and tireless struggle of families of the disappeared for truth and justice have transformed many of them into courageous human rights defenders, standing up for their right to know the truth about the fate and whereabouts of their loved ones. Amidst pain, their courage and determination in the pursuit for justice helped them face the terrible consequences brought about by the crime of enforced disappearance.

In South Asia, enforced disappearances have spread during the past few years. To give just few examples: in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Kashmir the number of cases is constantly increasing, with human rights defenders being intimidated and even disappeared; in Sri Lanka last year the Working Group denounced the secret detention camps present in the country and the huge number of families in this small country continue to search for their disappeared loved ones and to cry for justice.

In South East Asia, particularly in Thailand, since the military coup of 2014, a practice of short term enforced disappearances has been carried out together with arbitrary arrests, incommunicado military detention and military trials for lese majeste.   In other Southeast Asian countries, such as the Philippines, Indonesia and Timor-Leste,  cases of the past remain unresolved.

AFAD and its member organizations will continue carry on the struggleagainst the almost complete impunity surrounding this crime, to keep raising awareness on the crime of enforced disappearance as well as campaigning for the signing and ratification of the Convention on Enforced Disappearances across Asia.

On this occasion, AFAD’s continuing struggle to attain its goal of realizing a world without desaparecidoswill be a fitting tribute to the disappeared and their families.On this week, AFAD’smessage to all victims is to remind them that they are not alone in the struggle, that they have not been forgotten and that truth and justice are and will always remain AFAD priorities.
AFAD also reiterates its call for States to express genuine commitment to truth, justice and guarantees of non-recurrence by ratifying the Convention on Enforced Disappearances and taking concrete steps in putting a stop to the sufferings of the relatives of the disappeared and preventing such pain from ever being inflicted again in the future.

KHURRAM PARVEZ                         MARY AILEEN D. BACALSO
Chairperson                                     Secretary-General

 

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[Tula] Ilitaw ni Greg Bituin

photo by greg bituinkaytagal nang panahong minamahal ay nawala
mahabang panahong ang dibdib ay puno ng luha
nahan kaya sila, anong kanilang ginagawa
sila kaya’y napiit o nabaon na sa lupa

ilitaw na! ilitaw ang mga mahal sa buhay!
kung sakaling patay na’y ilitaw man lang ang bangkay!
upang ligalig paano ma’y pumayapang tunay
sana’y ilitaw na yaong mahal naming nawalay!

– tula’t litrato ni gregbituinjr.
– kuha sa UP Sunken Garden, Mayo 22, 2016, sa pagsisimula ng International Week of the Disappeared

 

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[Statement] End enforced disappearances, End social and economic injustice! -AFAD

End enforced disappearances,
End social and economic injustice!

10 December 2015 – On this 67th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) condemns all forms of State violence that are systematically committed against peoples all over the world. The global structure that perpetuates wealth and progress for the few comes at the price of the suffering of millions— of peoples displaced, dispossessed and made disposable. On this occasion, AFAD vows to work fully for the promotion and protection of human rights, with emphasis on the right not to be subjected to enforced disappearances.

AFAD

Tens of thousands of mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, children, sisters, brothers and friends have been snatched away from their loved ones and from their lives since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. The UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (UNWGEID) reports of 42,889 active cases it has received from 84 states, a number that only foreshadows thousands of other cases that have not yet been reported. This global malady had urged the United Nations to adopt the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances and to officially recognize August 30 as the International Day of the Disappeared.

Between the 70s to the early 90s in Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa, enforced disappearances have been the governments’ weapon of choice to silence those who challenge injustices. The Philippines’ Marcos and Indonesia’s Suharto dictatorial regimes, for instance, committed enforced disappearances as a means to eliminate those who threaten their political power and challenge the economic injustices at the time, including farmers, labor union leaders, church people, indigenous peoples and student activists.

The fall of those dictatorships has not put an end to the practice of enforced disappearances. The continuous waging of imperialist wars that only seek to maintain the global hegemonic order has resulted in the calloused commission of enforced disappearances for the same purpose as they have always served: to sow fear amongst the people and stifle resistance and dissent. The most recent attacks in Syria, which have killed and displaced many, manifest the same war that is being justified as the “War on Terror” has resulted in more than 5,000 cases of enforced disappearances in Pakistan. To date, the number of enforced disappearances in the Middle East and Africa that are linked to the War on Terror is difficult to approximate, but a report released by the Human Rights Watch[1] has provided a list of names of victims of enforced disappearances who, according to evidence, are being detained in Guantánamo

Asia bears the brunt of the phenomenon of enforced disappearances. As per 2015 report of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, out of the total number of 42,889 active cases, 25,706 came from Asia. 30 Asian countries out of 94 countries world-wide have submitted about 60% of the total number of active cases totally submitted from different parts of the globe. A region with the highest number of outstanding cases submitted to the UN, Asia is bereft of strong regional human rights mechanisms for protection and has the least number of ratifications to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. The Philippines is the only Asian country that has a law criminalizing enforced disappearances, but its full implementation remains a challenge.

In this context, AFAD believes that to put an end to enforced disappearances, the causes of social, political and economic injustice must be eradicated. The UN WGEID underscored the link between enforced disappearances and social and economic rights, and the importance of addressing the latter alongside the struggle against enforced disappearances, in a report [2]in July 2015. According to the study, the indivisibility of enforced disappearance and socio-economic rights can be seen in the vulnerability and the marking of the poor and marginalized—and those who fight for the social and economic rights—as targets in enforced disappearances.

In order to realize a world without desaparecidos, enforced disappearances must be fought against as a crime not only against the individual who has been disappeared, and to their families who suffer from the unceasing grief and anguish worsened by their forced state of destitution and oblivion on the fate or whereabouts of their disappeared loved one—moreover, it must be struggled against as a crime against the community and the greater society. The States’ use of enforced disappearances requires that all people—from the families of the disappeared; to social justice activists and human rights defenders; to farmers, workers, women, LGBTQ; from Asia to Europe, to the Americas and Africa—unite in calling on putting an end to this grave and inhuman violation and to the social and economic conditions to which it is inextricably linked.

The Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) renews its call for the universal ratification and implementation of the International Convention on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances that would make States accountable to helping families of the disappeared find truth and justice, as well as protect their people from being subjected to this heinous crime. Moreover, it calls on all states to recognize the competence of the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances and enact and implement domestic laws that criminalize enforced disappearance. AFAD likewise calls on States to fully honor their commitments to the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

67 long years have passed since the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Paris. Notwithstanding progress in human rights, the world has yet to see the full respect of the universality, indivisibility and inter-dependence of human rights. The right not to be subjected to enforced disappearance still remains an empty dream.

[1] HRW’s “Off the Record” was released in 2007. See the report at https://www.hrw.org/report/2007/06/07/record/us-responsibility-enforced-disappearances-war-terror

[2] The “Study on enforced or involuntary disappearances and economic, social and cultural rights” was an addendum to the WGEID’s report during the Human Rights Council’s 30th Session. See the full text of the study here: http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G15/152/87/PDF/G1515287.pdf?OpenElement

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[Event] Call for Entries: Poster-Making Contest – “Beyond Legislation: Hope, Action, Justice” -AFAD

Poster-Making Contest – “Beyond Legislation: Hope, Action, Justice”

afad poster making contest

https://www.facebook.com/events/705346896233185/

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[Statement] Bongbong Marcos has no right to deny that inhumane and cruel transgressions were committed during his father’s regime -FIND/AFAD

Bongbong Marcos has no right to deny that inhumane and cruel transgressions were committed during his father’s regime

Statement of HR Defenders, families and advocates against enforced disappearance on All Souls’ day

Vote for this article for the 5th HR Pinduteros’ Choice Awards

With no tombs or columbaria to visit, the families of the disappeared who are members of FIND gather every year on All Souls’ Day at the Bantayog ng mga Desaparecido at the Baclaran Church grounds to pray, offer flowers, light candles, and share memories of the sterling lives and martyrdom of their missing loved ones.

FIND AFAD

Today, these poignant memories are mocked and dishonored by Bongbong Marcos who insists that the best administration was that of his father’s as he glosses over the existence of some 100,000 victims of human rights violations during the Marcos regime. Among these, FIND has documented 882 victims of enforced disappearance, with the number of undocumented cases believed to be much higher.

Survivors of enforced disappearance under martial law and the families of the disappeared are living witnesses to the rampant human rights violations during the dark years of the Marcos dictatorship. They can tell Bongbong Marcos to his face their harrowing experiences of repression and injustice.

The martial law human rights violations victims Claims Board is currently validating supporting documents covering more than 70,000 victims.

Bongbong Marcos may not have directly perpetrated human rights violations, but he has no right to deny that these inhumane and cruel transgressions were committed during his father’s regime or to concede there were victims but at the same time dismiss them as unintended collateral damage.

Bongbong Marcos brazenly adds insult to injury by disregarding the fact that it was his father’s administration that launched the infamous floating rate in 1970, a de facto devaluation of the peso that persists to this day; the ballooning of the country’s foreign debt whose principal and interest payments have gobbled up the government’s meager resources for basic social services; the occurrence of the highest inflation rates in Philippine economic history in 1976 and in 1983; and the rising number of Filipinos living below the poverty threshold.

It’s a shame for Senator Marcos who now aspires to be Vice President to flaunt his perfidious ignorance of Philippine history and the country’s political economy.

Instead of trying hard to clear his father’s name, the noble thing for him to do is to apologize on his behalf, and help the victims and their families attain justice by supporting measures on accountability, truth recovery, reparations, and institutional reforms.

Since enforced disappearances are generally continuing offenses, President Aquino must now order the long overdue serious investigations into these unresolved cases toward bringing the perpetrators to justice.

Contact person:     Celia L. Sevilla, 0932-8165564/0917-9522123
FIND National and International Advocacy Program Coordinator

FIND
Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance

AFAD
Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances

PRESS STATEMENT ON ALL SOULS’ DAY
02 NOVEMBER 2015

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