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Unchecked corruption violates human rights
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Tuesday, 27 August 2013 12:24

 

Unchecked corruption violates human rights

In solidarity with the people’s outrage against PDAF

And all forms of corruption and corruptive practices

August 26, 2013

 

A government’s ability to respect, protect and fulfil human rights – social, cultural, political,  economic and civil - will ultimately be defined by the levels and systemic nature of corruption in those States. -United Nations Convention Against Corruption

Fighting corruption is central to the struggle for human rights.

pahra_logo_copyGovernment’s capability to implement the human rights obligations to its constituency, without transparency and accountability, is eroded if not restricted or blocked by the degree of corruption which its governors are unable or unwilling to stop.  Corruption must be linked to human rights.

Unchecked corruption violates human rights.  The perpetuation of corruption diminishes the possibilities  of a quality of life worthy of human dignity for thousands if not millions of Filipinos.

The Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates thus unites with the people’s outrage against the command conspiracy of state and non-state actors to plunder of  Napoles-ian scale and style the people’s money ear-marked in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) for  the welfare and upliftment of people, particularly of people living in poverty and of the vulnerable sectors;

Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 August 2013 12:32
 
Why were these Abu Sayyaf bombers released from jail?
Other campaigns
Tuesday, 13 August 2013 12:07
Why were these Abu Sayyaf bombers released from jail?
On behalf of the bereaved families and victims of bombings and kidnappings in Mindanao and in the interest truth and justice, the undersigned civil society organizations, human rights defenders and peace advocates strongly call for an immediate and impartial investigation over the suspicious release from detention of high-valued Abu Sayyaf inmates from the Special Intensive Care Area (SICA) of Bicutan Jail sometime in February 2013 through the alleged “facilitation” of a very powerful politician from Sulu.
While Mindanaoans are terrorized with the spate of bombings now rocking the fledgling peace in Mindanao, it is highly repulsive and mind-boggling why national agencies of government like the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF), which is under the Office of the President, and the Task Force on Anti-Terrorism of the Department of Justice allowed the release of highly dangerous terrorists who made no qualms that they are involved in bombings and kidnappings.
On February 7, 2013, national print and online media outfits reported the order of the Department of Justice to release 18 suspected Abu Sayyaf men allegedly wrongfully accused of kidnapping as “There appears to be no proof of their participation in the kidnapping much less evidence of their purported membership in the Abu Sayyaf Group.”  The 18 were charged for the kidnapping and beheading of Jehovah’s Witness/Almeda Group members in 2002.  Because of the dropping of their criminal charges by the DOJ, these 18 walked to freedom on February 15, 2013.
What is shocking is that barely a month from their release from prison, four of these 18 suspects, namely Muhammad Sali Said, Robin Sahiyal, Julhamad Ahad and Mujibar Amon were presented before the Regional Trial Court of Manila-Branch 19 as witnesses of Governor Abdusakur Tan in criminal cases which he has filed against a known human rights defender from Sulu.
In open court, these men have admitted that they are bombers, kidnappers and proud active members of the Abu Sayyaf Group.  Sali Said, the star witness produced by the Governor, admitted that he was released from prison through the help of the lawyer of the governor who offered to help him “process (his) papers for release” on the condition that his group will agree to stand as false witnesses for the governor.
Why these Abu Sayyaf inmates released from prison is the biggest question that up to now the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos and the Department of Justice refuse to answer.   Who repackaged these highly dangerous terrorists to fall under the legal assistance program of the NCMF and made them appear as innocent Muslims wrongly arrested due to mistaken identity?  While we are of course supportive of this type of programs as there are indeed hundreds of innocent detainees now languishing in jail, we strongly condemn the act of “inserting” into the list of innocent Muslims wrongly arrested due to mistaken identity—the names of at least four Abu Sayyaf bombers and kidnappers, namely Robin Sahiyal, Muhammad Sali Said and Julhamad Ahadi who walked to freedom last February 15, 2013.
While our young soldiers are risking their lives and limbs running after the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu, it is simply sickening to the senses and a complete mockery of justice to find our own national agencies like the NCMF and DOJ providing free legal assistance to high-valued terrorists, bombers and kidnappers?  How can we ever reconcile the use of taxpayers’ money to set free the Abu Sayyaf Group?  How can NCMF and DOJ ever miss the sea of difference between an innocent Muslim wrongly arrested due to mistaken identity and the solid intelligence dossier of these hard core terrorists?
Who placed the names of these terrorists into the list of innocent Muslims wrongly arrested due to mistaken identity?  Who made the deal so that the four ASG witnesses of the Governor will be categorized as innocent Muslims? Who closed his eyes on the glaring fact that these four are Abu Sayyaf members? Who repackaged the four terrorists to become innocent, wrongly arrested Muslims so they can qualify into the NCMF legal assistance program?
These questions demand answers from NCMF, DOJ and the Provincial Government of Sulu whose appalling modus operandi has ostensibly exposed the civilian population into such extreme level of risks from these terrorists who are now freely roaming around public places and could now be plotting the next bomb to detonate and kill our own people.
We appeal to the Philippine Senate to immediately call for an inquiry so that the NCMF, DOJ and the Vice Governor of Sulu will be able to answer for all these issues.
In the name of the victims of  bombings and other terroristic acts in Mindanao, we urge President Aquino to demonstrate the full force of the law by holding his very own agencies of government and political allies accountable to the “matuwid na daan” policy.
SIGNED:
PAT SARENAS                                                  REV. L. DANIEL PANTOJA
Chairperson                                                  President
Mindanao Coalition of Development NGOs                       Peacebuilders Community, Inc.
(MINCODE)
SISTER MARIA ARNOLD NOEL, SPPS                               PASTOR REU MONTECILLO
Convenor                                                     Presiding Chair
Mindanao Solidarity Network                                  Mindanao Peoples Caucus
MAX DE MESA                                                  GUIAMEL ALIM
Chair                                                        Lead Convenor
Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates                Mindanao Peace Weavers
ISMAEL MAULANA                                               SALIC IBRAHIM
Secretary General                                            Chairperson
Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society                       Reform the ARMM Now (RAN)
1.  Agong Network
2.  AKBAYAN
3.  Al-Ihsan Foundation
4.  Alliance of Progressive Labor
5.  Alternate Forum for Research in Mindanao
6.  Alyansa ng mga Nagkakaisang Kabataang Manggagawa(AKMA)
7.  Apo Agbibilin, Inc.
8.  Archdiocese Center for Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue
9.  Balay Rehabilitation Center
10. Bangsamoro Center for Just Peace
11. Bangsamoro Initiatives for Services and Consultancy,  Inc.
12. Bangsamoro Women Initiatives for Development, Inc.
13. Bangsamoro Youth Leaders Forum
14. Bantay Ceasefire
15. Bawgbug, Inc.
16. Bong D. Fabe, Freelance Journalist;  ACCESS-ACDO
17. Building Alternative Rural Resource Institutions and Organizing Services(BARRIOS)
18. Center for Peoples Self-Determination
19. Civil Society Forum for Peace and Development
20. Claimants 1081
21. Concerned Citizens of Sulu
22. Cotabato Council of Elders
23. ECOWEB, Inc.
24. Fatima Tricycle Operators and Drivers Association (FATODA)
25. Federation of Matigsalug Tribal Councils
26. Foundation for Integral and Holistic Community Development
27. Freedom from Debt Coalition
28. Hugpong Alang sa Yanong Mamumuo sa Gensan (HAYAG)National Confederation Of Transportworkers Union(NCTU)
29. International Solidarity Conference on Mindanao
30. ITTIHADUN NISA FOUNDATION (INFO), Inc.
31. Kahugpungan sa Mindanao
32. Kapisanan ng Maralitang Obrero (KAMAO)
33. Kaumpiya sa Mindanao, Inc.
34. Kilusan para sa Pambansang Demokrasya
35. Landcare Foundation of the Philippines
36. Local Initiatives for Peace and Development in Mindanao (LIPAD MINDANAO), Inc.
37. LUNA, Inc.
38. Mahad Multipurpose Cooperative
39. Maligaya Community Workers Association(MACOWA)
40. Manobo Lumandong Panaghiusa
41. Maranao Peoples Development Center
42. Medical Action Group
43. Mindanao Alliance for Peace
44. Mindanao Alliance for Peace and Development (MAPAD)
45. Mindanao Congress of Development NGOs and NGIs (MINCON)
46. Mindanao Farmers Development Center
47. Mindanao Legal Assistance Center, Inc.
48. Mindanao Migrants Center for Empowering Actions
49. Mindanao Peace Movement
50. Mindanao Peace Partners
51. Mindanao Peoples Caucus SOCSKSARGEN Workers Network for Grassroots Advocacy (SWN)
52. Mindanao Solidarity Network
53. MNLF Arakan Cooperative
54. Moro Women Development and Cultural Center (MWDECC), Inc.
55. Moro-IP Kinship Council
56. MY PEACE
57. National Ulama Conference of the Philippines (NUCP)- Maguindanao Provincial Chapter
58. Neo Iranun Multi Sectoral Association (NIMSA), Inc.
59. NOORUS SALAM, Central Mindanao
60. One People Mindanao
61. Organization of Teduray and Lambangian Conference
62. Pagungayan Ami so mga Kagnudaan Antapan ko Kamapiyaan ago Kadtatabanga (PAKAT), Inc.
63. Panagtagbo-Mindanao
64. PATHJ-Mindanao
65. Peksalabukan Bangsa Subanen
66. Peoples Center for Community Development
67. Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA)
68. Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches
69. Philippine Human Rights Information Center (PHILRIGHTS)
70. Radyo Natin Club – Lanao del Norte
71. San Jose Integrated Social Forestry Farmers Association(SJISFFA)
72. San Juan Workers and Community Association (SANJUWOCA)
73. SELDA Greater Davao
74. SIMMCARRD
75. Social Workers Coordinating Council (SWCC)
76. Suara Kalilintad
77. Sulu Ulama Council for Peace and Development
78. Tabang Ako Siyap Ko Bangsa Iranun Saya Ko Kalilintad Ago
79. Task Force Detainees of the Philippines
80. Task Force Kalilintad
81. Task Force Ugalingan Limbalod
82. Technical Assistance Center for Development of Rural and Urban Poor
83. Tripeople Concern for Peace and Development
84. Tripeople for Peace and Development
85. Tulung Lupah Sug
86. United Youth for Peace and Development (UNYPAD)
87. United Youth Philippines
88. Women's Initiative for Social Empowerment(WISE)
89. Yumang-LlidoMisa Mini Tricycle operators and Drivers Association(YULLIMMTODA)
FOR INQUIRIES, please contact:
Rose Trajano: 0906-553-1792 and (02)436-26-33
Jun Aparece: 09177015058

Why were these Abu Sayyaf bombers released from jail?

 

On behalf of the bereaved families and victims of bombings and kidnappings in Mindanao and in the interest truth and justice, the undersigned civil society organizations, human rights defenders and peace advocates strongly call for an immediate and impartial investigation over the suspicious release from detention of high-valued Abu Sayyaf inmates from the Special Intensive Care Area (SICA) of Bicutan Jail sometime in February 2013 through the alleged “facilitation” of a very powerful politician from Sulu.

While Mindanaoans are terrorized with the spate of bombings now rocking the fledgling peace in Mindanao, it is highly repulsive and mind-boggling why national agencies of government like the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF), which is under the Office of the President, and the Task Force on Anti-Terrorism of the Department of Justice allowed the release of highly dangerous terrorists who made no qualms that they are involved in bombings and kidnappings.

On February 7, 2013, national print and online media outfits reported the order of the Department of Justice to release 18 suspected Abu Sayyaf men allegedly wrongfully accused of kidnapping as “There appears to be no proof of their participation in the kidnapping much less evidence of their purported membership in the Abu Sayyaf Group.”  The 18 were charged for the kidnapping and beheading of Jehovah’s Witness/Almeda Group members in 2002.  Because of the dropping of their criminal charges by the DOJ, these 18 walked to freedom on February 15, 2013.

What is shocking is that barely a month from their release from prison, four of these 18 suspects, namely Muhammad Sali Said, Robin Sahiyal, Julhamad Ahad and Mujibar Amon were presented before the Regional Trial Court of Manila-Branch 19 as witnesses of Governor Abdusakur Tan in criminal cases which he has filed against a known human rights defender from Sulu.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 August 2013 12:09
 
Honoring women human rights defenders (HRDs) and uniting with women HRDs against impunity -PAHRA
Other campaigns
Monday, 11 March 2013 16:33
Honoring women human rights defenders (HRDs) and uniting with women HRDs against impunity
March 8, 2013
On the occasion of International Women’s Day, the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) salutes and honors all women who defend human dignity – their own and that of others, who assert women’s rights as human rights and who fight to end impunity against women as persons and against their struggles.
We particularly salute and honor on this day all women who made the supreme sacrifice with their lives in their struggles for justice and for human rights, not only for their own gender but for the communities wherein they live and for the country as a whole.  The extrajudicial killing of a woman human rights defender is a concern of and a threat to all human rights defenders.
The recent killing of Cristina Jose, a kagawad (Barangay Councilor) of Barangay Binondo, Baganga, Davao City, raises further alarm and a red flag denoting urgent warning to all human rights defenders (HRDs) that calling attention to and protesting against the violations of the State obligations of respecting, protecting and fulfilling its constituents’ human rights either by commission or by omission can provoke a death-dealing action on one’s own life.
Immediately prior to Jose’s assassination last March 4, she was concerned with her Barangay constituents’ urgent need for daily food due to the devastation wrought by Typhoon Pablo on the communities sources of subsistence and capabilities for livelihood. Both the local government and local  branches of national offices prioritized other concerns and consequent actions that eroded due diligence and curtailed significantly the availability and accessibility to the people’s right to adequate food.  Willful delays and the lack of transparency resulting in the adverse effects on the health of vulnerable persons in the communities make particular government officials and offices accountable for the violations.  These delays and effects breach core elements of human rights.
Silence on the part of government, both national and local, on the killing of Cristina will further encourage similar retaliations on other just protests.
In reality, the premeditated murder of Mrs. Cristina Jose is a consequent of the earlier impunity against other women human rights defenders.  It is the impunity that perpetuates human rights violations against which women as sisters and mothers and their families in different sectoral struggles.
It is the impunity that pervades areas where government and security forces allow and encourage development aggression to sacrifice lands and lives, like that of Juvy Capion and her two children who were massacred in Kiblawan, Davao del Sur, last October 18, 2012 to allow, at that time without an Environmental Clearance Certificate (ECC),  the Sagittarius Mining Incorporated (SMI) to operate.  The Capion family protested against the mining company’s forced and armed intrusion into the B’laan people’s ancestral land.  PAHRA condemns Juvy and her children’s deaths as well as demands speedy investigation so that justice may be meted on the military perpetrators.
It is the impunity that is spawned from the struggle of agrarian reform lands that Kathy Alcantara, woman leader-organizer of the Pambansang Kilusan ng Makabayang Magbubukid (PKMM)- [National Movement of Nationalist Farmers],fought against and was killed by unindentified men mid-morning of December 5,2006 in Brgy. Gabon, Abucay, Bataan in Central Luzon.  PAHRA salutes Kathy and her kind.
It is the impunity that has embedded itself with armed hacienda security guards in Negros Occidental that Task Force Mapalad members (TFM) Edna Sobrecaray, Charie and Estrellita Celes, Visitacion Garay,  and Sharon Macapal successfully challenged.  Their courage had legally gained them their lands as well as inspired other women to follow their path.  PAHRA stands with Edna and all the women with her.
PAHRA will continue to struggle alongside women against unjust structures, systems and institutions which are obstacles to the full implementation of fundamental freedoms and human rights.  PAHRA calls on all human rights defenders to fight with women and eliminate impunity so as to obtain dignity and justice for us all.
Against the unity of human rights defenders, none will be able to resist.
Honoring women human rights defenders (HRDs) and uniting with women HRDs against impunity
March 8, 2013
pahra_logo_copyOn the occasion of International Women’s Day, the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) salutes and honors all women who defend human dignity – their own and that of others, who assert women’s rights as human rights and who fight to end impunity against women as persons and against their struggles.
We particularly salute and honor on this day all women who made the supreme sacrifice with their lives in their struggles for justice and for human rights, not only for their own gender but for the communities wherein they live and for the country as a whole.  The extrajudicial killing of a woman human rights defender is a concern of and a threat to all human rights defenders.
The recent killing of Cristina Jose, a kagawad (Barangay Councilor) of Barangay Binondo, Baganga, Davao City, raises further alarm and a red flag denoting urgent warning to all human rights defenders (HRDs) that calling attention to and protesting against the violations of the State obligations of respecting, protecting and fulfilling its constituents’ human rights either by commission or by omission can provoke a death-dealing action on one’s own life.
Last Updated on Monday, 11 March 2013 16:37
 
Protecting Women from Enforced Disappearance
Other campaigns
Friday, 08 March 2013 16:55
Joint Statement
International Women’s Day
8 March 2013
Protecting Women from Enforced Disappearance
Women everywhere are deeply affected by the global scourge of enforced disappearance. They are the wives, mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and daughters who are in the abysmal state of uncertainty and in perpetual search for their disappeared loved ones.  They are often left behind to bear the socio-economic and psycho-emotional brunt of enforced disappearance. In cases when women are made to disappear, theyare particularly at great risk of sexual and other forms of violence.
Many of them have been able to transform their personal anguish and sufferings into courage and determination to sustain the arduous struggle for justice. For a long time, the Philippines lacked the specific mechanisms that protect individuals including women and children from enforced disappearance. But the 16 years of uphill battle of victims’ families and human rights advocates to have enforced disappearance criminalized has finally borne fruit in the recent passage of Republic Act No. 10353 or the Anti-Enforced Disappearance Act of 2012. This special penal law officially recognizes not only the gravity of the offense but also the distinct sufferings endured by the victims and their families, especially by women and children.
The Anti-Enforced Disappearance Act of 2012 is without doubt, a major advancement in human rights legislation. Nevertheless,the law is only as good as its implementation. While the speedy crafting and joint promulgation of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) by appropriate government agencies and organizations of families sought to expedite the Act’s implementation, a strong political will is required to ensure the full realization of the law’s objectives.
While a law defines mandates, translating them into concrete actions lies in the collective will of all stakeholders. It is for this reason that we organized a forum-workshop on the “Effective Implementation of Republic Act No. 10353” with the support of the Embassy of Canada and the UP Asian Center on 6 March, 2013 at the GT Toyota UP Asian Center Auditorium. The forum brought together various stakeholders not only to instill the letter and spirit of the law in their hearts and minds, but most importantly to generate collective action that will ensure the effectiveness of the law, more particularly in strengthening accountability and combating impunity.
We also hope that the new law will facilitate the Philippines’ signing and accession to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance to complement and reinforce the domestic protection mechanisms.
As we commemorate the International Women’s Day today, we pay tribute to all women who have indefatigably struggled and risked their lives to make our world free from enforced disappearance and other forms of violence. Ending this odious offense will greatly contribute to the liberation of all women in the world from discrimination and violence.
Protecting Women from Enforced Disappearance
AFAD_FIND_ICAEDWomen everywhere are deeply affected by the global scourge of enforced disappearance. They are the wives, mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and daughters who are in the abysmal state of uncertainty and in perpetual search for their disappeared loved ones.  They are often left behind to bear the socio-economic and psycho-emotional brunt of enforced disappearance. In cases when women are made to disappear, theyare particularly at great risk of sexual and other forms of violence.
Many of them have been able to transform their personal anguish and sufferings into courage and determination to sustain the arduous struggle for justice. For a long time, the Philippines lacked the specific mechanisms that protect individuals including women and children from enforced disappearance. But the 16 years of uphill battle of victims’ families and human rights advocates to have enforced disappearance criminalized has finally borne fruit in the recent passage of Republic Act No. 10353 or the Anti-Enforced Disappearance Act of 2012. This special penal law officially recognizes not only the gravity of the offense but also the distinct sufferings endured by the victims and their families, especially by women and children.
The Anti-Enforced Disappearance Act of 2012 is without doubt, a major advancement in human rights legislation. Nevertheless,the law is only as good as its implementation. While the speedy crafting and joint promulgation of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) by appropriate government agencies and organizations of families sought to expedite the Act’s implementation, a strong political will is required to ensure the full realization of the law’s objectives.
Last Updated on Friday, 08 March 2013 17:07
 
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