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Philippine Embassy

News Release

04 June 2009

PRESS STATEMENT

EXEC. SEC. EDUARDO R. ERMITA

Presidential Spokesman

04 June 2009

Alston acknowledges RP progress on human rights in follow-up report

Prof. Philip Alston, United Nations Special Rapporteur on extra judicial killings, acknowledged the progress in the Philippine government’s and the Arroyo administration’s promotion and protection of human rights in the country in his presentation of his follow-up report yesterday (June 3) to the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.

In his oral statement before the United Nations body, Alston clearly acknowledged that the number of unexplained killings in the Philippines “has fallen dramatically by 70%” since his visit in 2007.

He also mentioned that the Philippine Human Rights Commission has been reinvigorated, a major and “highly credible” investigation of the alleged death squads in Davao has been opened, and “the Government continues to announce new initiatives designed to reduce the number of killings and identify those responsible.”

The Philippines, through its Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva, noted Prof. Alston’s follow-up report. The Permanent Mission submitted to the Human Rights Council a detailed response in writing to Prof. Alston’s follow-up report prepared by the Presidential Human Rights Committee.

During the interactive dialogue in the Human Rights Council, the Philippine delegation shared news reports validating that the New People’s Army was behind a number of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.

The Philippine delegation stated that such proof was “indicative of the consistent pattern of deception used by rebel groups where the armed wing conducts extra judicial killings, forced disappearances and other violations of humanitarian law, while the political arm puts the blame on the government.”

In its follow-up report, the Presidential Human Rights Committee revealed that atrocities committed by the Communist New People’s Army against innocent civilians and communities remain rampant. Data from various sources revealed that from January 2008 up to May 2009 alone, there were 235 cases of atrocities, broken down into 171 cases in 2008 and 64 in the first quarter of 2009.

These figures involve 120 cases of murder and liquidation of suspected government informers, non-payers of so-called revolutionary taxes, and civilian non-sympathizers; 64 arson incidents involving buses, trucks, bulldozers and other construction equipment, and cellular phone sites; 21 cases of forced disarmament of armed personnel; 18 cases of extortion and harassment of small businessmen and professionals; and 12 cases of abduction of military and police personnel, and civilian non-sympathizers.

Prof. Alston presented a number of reports to the 11th session of the Human Rights Council, including those on his visits to other countries, and not just the Philippines.

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Reference:

Consul Gines Gallaga

Press and Information Office

Email: ggallaga@cox.net

Tel: 202-467-9432

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