Human rights group slams Arroyo visit to London
By CAMPAIGN FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE PHILIPPINES
The Campaign for Human Rights in the Philippines (CHRP), an independent British-based human rights group, will launch a protest together with concerned members of the Filipino community on Friday, 18 September, as the Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo delivers a keynote conference speech in London.
Arroyo is speaking at a conference sponsored by the Economist, whose central theme is emerging markets. She is expected to highlight economic growth in the Philippine economy.
However, the Reverend Canon Barry Naylor, Urban Canon of the Abbey and Holy Spirit Team Ministries in Leicester said “we do not believe that there can be any meaningful economic progress if the human rights of Filipino citizens are violated.”
Canon Naylor, president of CHRP, lambasted Arroyo for being a head of state which stands accused of perpetrating and rewarding political killings, disappearances, torture and the violation of basic human rights.
“[These atrocities have] been investigated and documented by numerous United Nations bodies as well as other human rights organisations such as Amnesty International and the World Council of Churches,” continued Naylor in the group’s letter. The visit of Arroyo virtually coincides with the release of another Amnesty statement, which raises concerns about the safety of human rights defenders after further recent extra-judicial killings.
“We will continue to make these issues known to the international community, gather wide support from the British public, and lobby both the UK government to put pressure on the Philippines to stop these human rights violations,” said Rafael Maramag, a volunteer advocate for CHRP.
President Arroyo has been criticized for her frequent travels abroad, most notably after reports of expensive dinners she enjoyed with her entourage during her latest visit to the US.
While in the UK, it is understood the Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo and British First Secretary of State Lord Mandelson will sign the RP-UK Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty.
Recognising this, CHRP calls for the UK Government to recommend for the improvement of protecting human rights in the Philippines.
CHRP members plan to hand over their letter to officials of the Philippine Embassy on the day of the protests, as well as to distribute copies during the demonstration. # nordis.net