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France urges RP to back disappearances treaty

by Pesante-USA Saturday, Jun. 02, 2007 at 5:42 AM
magsasakapil@hotmail.com 213-241-0906 337 Glendale Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026

France appealed to the Philippine government to sign and ratify an international treaty on forced disappearances in view of the pending assistance of local authorities by human rights experts from Europe in solving the unabated political killings in the country. French Ambassador to the Philippines Gerard Chesnel yesterday stressed the need for all democratic governments to support the treaty on disappearances, which will criminalize and put an end to rampant state-sanctioned abductions.

France urges RP to back disappearances treaty

Daily Tribune
06/02/2007

Manila --France appealed to the Philippine government to sign and ratify an international treaty on forced disappearances in view of the pending assistance of local authorities by human rights experts from Europe in solving the unabated political killings in the country.

French Ambassador to the Philippines Gerard Chesnel yesterday stressed the need for all democratic governments to support the treaty on disappearances, which will criminalize and put an end to rampant state-sanctioned abductions.

“We do regret and condemn disappearances anywhere in the world,” Chesnel said, adding, “It’s something that democratic countries cannot accept.”

Human rights groups in the country claim nearly 200 persons have fallen victim to abduction since President Arroyo assumed power in 2001. A rights group has pegged the human rights abuses committed under the Arroyo regime to have hit close to a thousand, to include political killings.

Most of the disappearances have been blamed on the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

France has been spearheading global support for the International Convention on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances since its adoption by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2006.

According to European Union public affairs section head Gabriel Munuera Vinals, nine human rights experts from the Uniteed Kingdom, Finland, Sweden, Germany and Spain are due this month to help solve extra-judicial killings in the Philippines.

Meanwhile, Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines president Archbishop Angel Lagdameo yesterday pleaded for the captors of militant youth leader Jonas Burgos to “have mercy and compassion and return him to his family.”

Burgos, son of the late multi-awarded journalist Jose Burgos, was abducted last April 28 by unidentified men in a mall in Quezon City.

Witnesses claimed Burgos was “held by the hands and feet” and taken to a van waiting outside the mall.

Lagdameo made the call via video blog before leaving for Rome Thursday night.

“We would like to request that those who are handling him may have the mercy and compassion to return him to his family,” Lagdameo said, adding “This is our prayer.

“We do not know the reason behind the abduction but we would like to express our sympathy to his family especially to his mother with our prayers,” he said.

“The bishops’ prayer for the release of my son is definitely a big help for us,” Burgos’ mother, Edita, elder sister of vicar-general Msgr. Ramon Tronqued of the Diocese of Legazpi, said.

“I know that Jonas is alive. We are just praying that he is not sick or hurt,” she added.

Edita said she is praying that those holding Jonas would give him a chance to defend himself in court “if there’s anything wrong that he has done.”
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