GROUP DEMANDS GOV’T TO APPLY RIGHTS PACT

KARAPATAN-CENTRAL VISAYAS
door 2-annex bldg., #85 osmena blvd., cebu city 6000 PHILIPPINES

NEWS RELEASE

21 July 2009

The premier human rights alliance in Central Visayas demands that the government implement its human rights accord with the National Democratic Front following the death of civilians in an NPA ambush in Negros Occidental last week.

The Alliance for the Advancement of Peoples’ Rights (KARAPATAN) said “the government should stop stalling the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Laws (CARHRIHL) in light of mounting casualties and growing human rights violation in the intensifying civil war.”

“It is condemnable enough that this civil strife has exposed more and more civilians to crossfire. But it is doubly despicable when unarmed critics and activists become targets of military attacks. The first emphasizes the urgency of institutionalizing the rules of war in the countryside. The second calls for a total overhaul, if not remaking, of the armed forces,” said Dennis Abarrientos, secretary-general of KARAPATAN-CV.

KARAPATAN said “the government’s non-implementation of CARHRIHL deprives the victims of a mechanism for redress, even as perpetrators are emboldened to assault human rights with greater impunity.”

The group said it does not help that the AFP continues to live in a state of denial over its responsibility for extrajudicial killings.

It advised the 303rd Infantry Brigade to be as candid as its enemy in admitting lapses and apologizing for mistakes.

In particular, it wants the 303rd IBde to surrender its assassins and ‘death squad’ agents to a public Congressional Inquiry.

Earlier, it has filed a complaint before the Congressional Committee on Human Rights for an investigation of the assassination of farmer leader Fermin Lorico and six other activists in Negros Oriental this year alone.ÿ

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