Calvin Bigho, OFM, the JPIC animator for the Philippines, writes: “Below is an online petition letter that is currently circulating throughout the world. This was initiated by Filipino organizations based in Hong Kong in collaboration with the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) – a non-government human rights organization also based in Hong Kong. We have been sending these organizations the necessary data and updates as regards the unabated killings and human rights violations perpetrated almost every day by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippines National Police (PNP) against perceived ‘enemies of the state.’ “
HONG KONG – Hundreds of people from the Philippines and around the world have signed a petition calling for an end to the relentless killings of human rights defenders and labor and peasant leaders in that country.
Over 500 people from all walks of life and countries have so far signed the online petition, which was launched a week ago, calling for proper investigations into the killings and protection for witnesses and relatives of victims.
“Extrajudicial killing has no place in a civilized society. Neither will it stop people from rising and pursuing what they believe is right and just,” Gessen Rocas of the Student Christian Movement in Hong Kong writes on the petition.
“We are preparing a strong ‘Stop the Killings’ campaign with a lot of organizations here in Belgium. What is happening in the Philippines is unacceptable,” Rob Van Vlierden of the Third World Council Overpelt/Philippine Support Groups in Belgium says.
“It pains me to hear and know that people don’t value life anymore and justice is trampled upon in our dear country, the Philippines,” Ditma Trocio of the Catholic Church in Hong Kong says.
Overseas workers, clergy and religious persons, trade unionists, sex workers, students, politicians, journalists and broadcasters, teachers and academics and civil servants have all joined the call.
“Paquito Diaz was shot dead by assailants outside his home. This murder brings to 696 the number of activists killed since President Arroyo came to power. Does she think this is acceptable?” Piers Elias, the chairperson of COURAGE, an umbrella organization for public sector unions in the U.K., asks.
“We in the U.S. will do everything in our power to bring this outrage to the attention of the U.S. people and people around the world,” Jeffrey Michael Meyer of the Network in Solidarity with the People of the Philippines says from New York.
“The whole world is watching what is going on in the Philippines,” Wan Hoi-wing warns from Hong Kong.
Signatories have so far joined the petition from more than 30 countries and territories, including India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, U.A.E., Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Italy, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Hungary, Norway, Austria, Serbia-Montenegro, Slovak Republic, Switzerland, U.K., U.S., Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand.
The online petition was initiated by Filipino groups in Hong Kong together with the Asian Human Rights Commission. It is available on a new Web site: www.pinoyhr.net.
“We are encouraging people around the world to sign this petition to protect the lives of human rights defenders, environmentalists, trade unionists, social activists and other persons in the Philippines,” Kim Soo A, urgent appeals coordinator at the AHRC, said.