viernes, 4 de abril de 2014

Justice for Romeo Capalla! An Open Letter to President Benigno Aquino III from the International Coalition on Human Rights in the Philippines – Toronto (Canada)

Sr. Cecilia Torres has endorsed the sharing of this Open Letter to President Benigno Aquino (from ICHRP-Toronto , Canada) - calling for an end to Impunity and a stop to the escalating Extrajudicial killings happening in the Philippines.

Dear President Aquino,

Once again, we are shocked by the brutal killing of another human rights defender, Romeo Capalla. We condemn in the strongest terms, the silence of your Administration about these extrajudicial killings being committed almost every week since the beginning of 2014. The assassination of Capalla occurred 13 days after the massacre of Licuben Ligiw and his two sons, Freddie and Eddie, on March 2, 2014 in Abra.

Like the other victims of extrajudicial killing, Romeo Capalla was involved in work to improve the lives of marginalized communities. He was a Board Member of Panay Fair Trade Center (PFTC), formed by peasant women in 1991 to provide women farmers and food producers fair value for their products by engaging in post-harvest processing, opening alternative venues for marketing and establishing direct links between the farmers/producers and consumers within the country and overseas.

As in many cases of extrajudicial killings, activities promoting the rights and welfare of marginalized people such as those undertaken by PFTC are vilified by the military. The military claims that Capalla was involved in activities (i.e. PFTC) where “funds for the rebel group could easily be laundered.” PFTC members and member organizations are clearly targeted by the military. PFTC, its members, including Romeo Capalla, its member organizations and its partners appear in the military order of battle. In 2005, Capalla was arrested on fabricated charge of arson which was later dismissed. Even then, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police continued harassing and tagging him a commander of the New People’s Army. An hour after Capalla was shot, a sugar rice mill and pick-up truck belonging to PFTC member organization, the Katilingban sang Magsasaka sa Dabong (KAMADA II) in Brgy. Dabong, Janiuay, Iloilo was set on fire.

Mr. President, we are waiting to hear you publicly declaring that these killings must stop now. We are waiting for your decisive action to end impunity now. We are looking to see concrete steps from you to give justice to the victims of extrajudicial killings and halt its escalation, including the following: The formation of an independent investigation and fact-finding team composed of representatives from human rights groups, the Church, local government, and the Commission on Human Rights to investigate the latest extrajudicial killings, including that of Romeo Capalla An order from you, as Commander in Chief of the Philippine Army, to stop the military policy and campaign of vilification under the Operation Plan Bayanihan, which gives state agents the licence to target human rights defenders and ordinary citizens

Respond to the calls from Filipinos and human rights advocates from around the world to withdraw Operation Plan Bayanihan which is at the root of extrajudicial killings and other grievous human rights abuses

Mr. President, justice must be done NOW to Romeo Capalla and the other victims of extrajudicial killings! Extrajudicial killings must stop NOW! Impunity must end NOW.

*The International Coalition on Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) is a global network of organizations outside the Philippines who are concerned about human rights Philippines and committed to work for a just and lasting peace in the Philippines.

No hay comentarios:

Publicar un comentario