BINAY – ARROYO GOVT HAS IGNORED INT’L HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITMENTS
SEPTEMBER 18 2009
REF: JOEY SALGADO
Makati Mayor and United Opposition (UNO) president Jejomar C. Binay today said the Arroyo administration has totally ignored recommendations by international human rights groups to institutionalize reforms to end human rights violations.
The recent killing of a priest in Samar , a tribal leader in Agusan and the spying incident on National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera shows that the administration is more intent on silencing opposition rather than observing human rights.
“The Arroyo administration may have issued policy statements condemning political killings and affirming its support for human rights. But all of these are for the consumption of international groups,” he said.
“The reality is that the Arroyo administration continues to spy on its citizens, and by inaction, tolerates human rights violations and political killings,” he said.
Binay said Amnesty International had even reminded the Arroyo administration to hold true to its publicly stated commitment to the United Nations in 2008 to decrease political killings and enforced disappearances, and effectively implement reforms.
On Thursday, the Navy admitted sending a trainee to spy on Lumbera, who recently criticized Malacanang’s abuse of authority in conferring the recent National Artist Awards.
Human rights watchdog AI earlier blamed the Arroyo administration for the resurgence of political killings in the country, citing the killing of Fr. Cecilio Lucero last Sept. 6. Earlier, Higaonon tribe leader Datu Mampaagi Belayong was killed in front of his family, reportedly by members of a paramilitary group.
“Recent politically motivated killings in counter-insurgency areas raise concerns about the safety of human rights defenders and community leaders in such regions,” it said in a statement.
AI called on the Philippine government to provide protection to people at risk of being targeted, and to initiate “prompt, impartial, independent and effective investigations into all killings.”
Local human rights group Karapatan said at least 34 cases of extra-judicial killings occurred in the first half of 2009, and more than 1,000 in the last decade.