Press Release
June 22, 2006

Press statement of Sen. Jamby Madrigal

Today, I am personally bringing to the attention of the Independent Experts of the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights (UNHCHR) the worsening human rights situation in the Philippines. I am scheduled to meet the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and a representative of the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Killings. I have no political agenda in bringing these cases to the attention of the UN.

As a member of the Philippines Senate, I personally lodged a complaint before the UNHCHR last March 2006, on the blatant human rights violations committed by Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. These include the curtailment of the freedoms of expression and right of assembly, freedom of the press and warrantless arrests. The UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression has taken cognizance of my complaint and I have submitted to him documents and video materials to substantiate my complaint.

I am also bringing to the attention of the UN, particularly to the Special Rapporteur, the violations of the right to life of the Filipinos as evidenced by the rising trend in extrajudicial killings of political activists in various parts of the country. As I speak, there has been 687 victims of extrajudicial killings documented from January 20, 2001 to June 17, 2006. There are also 53 victims of enforced disappearances.

These extrajudicial killings are politically motivated. Of the 687 victims: 291 are activist leaders, members and supporters of cause oriented groups. They are ordinary workers, farmers, lawyers, teachers, students, pastors, and priests; 24 are human rights advocates who were killed while they were on duty; 300 are peasants killed in the course of military operations; and 59 are workers killed due to labor-related disputes

These killings have to stop. As a Filipino and a peace advocate, I appeal to the international community to strongly condemn the rising tide of extrajudicial killings happening in the Philippines today, and for the United Nations to send its Independent Experts to investigate the human rights crisis we are now facing.

We are a country in a war of its own making. We cannot expect peace to be achieved from the barrel of the guns. Justice is elusive in the Philippines. We have no recourse but to go to the United Nations to prevent impunity and stop draconian rule in the Philippines. This is our last straw of hope, where the rule of law hangs by a thread and there is threat of a civil unrest.

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