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DEMOCRACY NOW – Headlines for July 30, 2009

Obama Urged to Address Human Rights in Arroyo Meeting

President Obama is scheduled to host President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
of the Philippines today at the White House. Filipino activists are
calling on President Obama to raise human rights concerns, including
torture and abductions by government forces. Melissa Roxas, a United
States citizen of Filipino descent, recently spoke out about her
kidnapping by alleged Filipino soldiers.

Melissa Roxas: “I was never left alone. There were always men watching
me. I was constantly interrogated, and during the interrogations, they
would ask me repeatedly if I knew why I was there. And I was told by
them that I was abducted because I was a member of the CPP-NPA
[Communist Party of the Philippines New People’s Army]. I also
repeatedly told them that I have rights and that I demanded for my
lawyer. I told them that I was just a writer and a volunteer. They
told me that even if a year passes, I would never see a lawyer, that
in there I had no rights. Although it is still very difficult to talk
about the incident, I wanted to tell the truth about what happened to
me, because I don’t want what happened to me to happen to anyone else
ever again. I want the world to know what happened, because the
Philippine government and military should not get away with what they
did to me, to Juanito, to John Edward. And they cannot get away with
what they did to many other people.”

The Obama-Arroyo meeting comes as Congress begins debate on extending
US military aid to the Philippines. Advocates have called for the
funding to be cut in half and for increased requirements on protecting
human rights.

The Portland Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines urges you
to send a letter to President Obama today.

Email the White House:

Submit your letter TODAY!

Justice for Melissa Roxas and all victims of human rights violations
in the Philippines!

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama,

Before you meet with Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at
the White House on July 30, I urge you to look into the case of
Melissa Roxas, a U.S. citizen and survivor of torture in the
Philippines.  I urge you to include human rights in the Philippines
and Melissa Roxas as an integral portion of your meeting with
President Arroyo. Please watch this video before you meet with her on

I am deeply concerned for the well-being of U.S. citizen, Melissa
Roxas, a survivor of torture. On May 19, 2009, she was abducted while
doing community health work in the Philippines. She has spoken out
publicly in Los Angeles and is testifying in the Philippines right now
about her traumatic experience of being abducted and tortured for
almost one week. I know you share this concern. On the U.N.
International Day in Support of Torture Victims, you declared,
“Torture is contrary to the founding documents of our country and the
fundamental values of our people. The U.S. must stand against torture
wherever it takes place.”

With your support, we can move another step closer to demanding
justice for Melissa Roxas by way of a criminal investigation, arrest
and prosecution of the parties responsible for her abduction and

Unfortunately, Melissa is one of thousands of victims of human right
violations in the Philippines. She is among the very few survivors of
abduction, and I admire her courage to speak out so that we will know
the truth and take a stand for justice.

With your support, we can move another step closer to ensuring that no
more US tax-payers’ dollars are being used to enable state-sponsored
human rights violations in the Philippines.

During your Inaugural Speech, you said, “To those who cling to power
through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that
you are on the wrong side of history.”

Please take a stand for justice and do not hesitate to defend and
demand justice for our sister, Melissa, when you meet with President

_______________________________             _______________
Signature                                                      Date
Print Name

Join the Justice for Melissa Campaign and visit the website at for news, information, and updates. Find out
what you can do to support the Justice for Melissa Campaign today.

In solidarity,
Claire Oliveros
Chair, Portland CHRP

Portland Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (PCHRP) is an
organizing committee of Filipinos and allies working in solidarity to
advance the national democratic movement of the Philippines in the
U.S. PCHRP serves as an outlet for local, national, and international
urgent action alerts, media updates, and general information related
to human rights violations against Filipinos in the Philippines and

PCHRP is a member of BAYAN USA, an alliance of progressive Filipino
groups in the U.S. representing organizations of students, scholars,
women, workers, and youth. As the only international chapter of Bagong
Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN-Philippines), BAYAN-USA serves as an
information bureau for the national democratic movement of the
Philippines and as a campaign center for anti-imperialist Filipinos in
the U.S.


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