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Philippine Human Rights Group Stands by Concerns

by AJLPP Tuesday, Jun. 17, 2008 at 8:36 AM
magsasakapil@hotmail,com 213-241-0995 337 Glendale Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026

On this supposed “independence day” of the Philippines, the Philippine Human Rights Watch delegation in attendance at the UN Human Rights Council 8th Session confirms its support to the joint statement delivered by the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) during the “interactive dialogue” yesterday on the consideration of the report of the Working Group on the Netherlands Universal Periodic Review (UPR).

PRESS STATEMENT Reference: Rev. Fr. Rex Reyes

Geneva, 12 June 2008 Secretary General, National Council of

Churches in the Philippines (NCCP)

Head of UPR Watch Delegation

Mobile Nos. +63918 944 7538; +4177 251 0560

Philippine Human Rights Group Stands by Concerns

for Violations of Rights of Filipinos in the Netherlands

Manila--- On this supposed “independence day” of the Philippines, the Philippine Human Rights Watch delegation in attendance at the UN Human Rights Council 8th Session confirms its support to the joint statement

delivered by the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL)

during the “interactive dialogue” yesterday on the consideration of the

report of the Working Group on the Netherlands Universal Periodic Review

(UPR).

The IADL is an NGO with consultative status to ECOSOC, UNICEF, and the

UN Human Rights Council with lawyer and jurist members and associations

in over 80 countries. The statement, which was read on the floor by

Atty. Edre U. Olalia, Deputy Secretary General for International

Solidarity Work of the IADL-affiliate National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers

(NUPL), was also endorsed by another ECOSOC-accredited NGO, the Indian

Council of South America as well as by the Indigenous Peoples and

Nations Coalition. Several other international NGOs based in Geneva and

abroad discreetly extended their support and endorsement in principle to

the statement.

Atty. Olalia, who is the legal consultant of the Philippine UPR Watch

and who also serves as President of the human rights lawyers

organization International Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL), was

the first speaker from an NGO and firmly raised the issues and concerns

of the IADL in relation to the violation of the human rights of Filipino

exiles, asylum-seekers and refugees like Prof. Jose Ma. Sison and the

other consultants, members and staffers of the National Democratic Front

of the Philippines (NDFP) which is considered a national liberation

movement under international law.

The Philippine UPR Watch delegation stood by Atty. Olalia’s ringing

intervention as the whole Council was listening. The Watch upholds the

basic democratic rights of Filipinos whether in the Philippines or

elsewhere. The group also shared the concerns of the IADL in relation to

the effect of the political persecution and legal harassment of Sison,

the raids on the NDFP offices and residences of its consultants, members

and staffers and the confiscation of still unreturned materials related

of the Joint Monitoring Committee of the Comprehensive Agreement on

Human Rights and International Humanitarian law (CARHRIHL), and the

effect of all these on the status of the peace negotiations with the

Philippine government.

The head of the Netherlands delegation, Dutch Ambassador for Human

Rights from the Foreign Ministry Mr. Arjan Hamburger – who was obviously

caught by surprise by a Filipino making an oral intervention on the

Netherlands human rights report and situation – was unprepared to answer

and meekly replied that they will respond to the issues raised by the

NGOs in an interim overview of their UPR report or "through bilateral

contact with the organizations that spoke." This was confirmed by Mr.

Hamburger and Mr. Walter Oostelbos, UPR Coordinator for the Netherlands

and former ambassador to the Philippines, when Olalia approached the

Dutch delegation immediately afterwards.

At the time the oral intervention was delivered, the table of the

Philippine Mission was empty and remained empty until the Philippine UPR

Watch delegation stepped out. It was not able to hear Olalia’s critical

questions that were equally directed at the Philippine government’s

repressive actions.#

___________________________________________________

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