STOP killings petition presented to government
(Hong Kong, July 19, 2006) The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) submitted a petition calling for the Philippines government to end the ongoing killings of human rights defenders, labour leaders, journalists, priests and lawyers there to the Philippines consulate in Hong Kong on Wednesday.
Staff of the Hong Kong-based regional rights group presented the petition, which now has almost 1500 signatures, to the vice consul, Victorio Mario M. Dimagiba Jr.
"We informed the vice consul that the persistent killings would have a disastrous effect on his country, not only on the victims and their families, and asked that his government seriously consider the consequences of allowing them to continue," Kate Hurst, of the AHRC urgent appeals programme, said.
The vice consul received the petition on behalf of the justice secretary of the Philippines, to whom it is directed.
He acknowledged the accuracy of accounts of killings issued by the AHRC.
"We pointed out to the vice consul that the petition is attracting attention from all over the world, and many signatories have expressed intense pain at what is happening in the Philippines and have committed themselves to local actions," Hurst said.
"All these will have a very detrimental effect on the country's international reputation," she added.
The AHRC also on Wednesday called for many more persons to share their outrage and frustrations at killings and government in action in both the Philippines and Thailand through the appeals it is hosting on the two countries.
The petition on Thailand is calling for the head of the Department of Special Investigation to be removed after it has failed to investigate killings of human rights defenders and environmentalists there. It can be viewed and signed at: http://thailand.ahrchk.net/dsi_petition/
The petition against extrajudicial killings in the Philippines can be viewed and signed at: www.pinoyhr.net.
"We call upon everyone to participate in these campaigns and also encourage as many others as possible to join in," Basil Fernando, executive director of the AHRC, said.
"These efforts to save lives and demand answers are very much worth it," Fernando said.
"These are causes worth fighting for: the pressure and publicity these petitions generate against ugly killings and government inaction can break open deadly silences," he said.
"The governments of the Philippines and Thailand, and all perpetrators of extrajudicial killings in those places, should know that thousands in their countries and abroad are shocked by what is happening and are demanding that enough is enough!" Fernando insisted.
The AHRC has urged concerned persons around the world to start local protest actions, such as protesting to local consulates and embassies, and holding religious gatherings and vigils for the victims.
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About AHRC The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation monitoring and lobbying human rights issues in Asia. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.
Posted on 2006-07-19