World Student Christian Federation Asia-Pacific
Approved and adopted at the 17th WSCF AP Regional Committee
Meeting in session, July 7, 2006, Dhaka, Bangladesh
We, Christian youth and students representing the Student Christian Movements from different parts of the world and the World Student Christian Federation, express our deep concern with regards to the alarming human rights situation in the Philippines.
We strongly condemn the killings of members of the clergy, church workers, activists, journalists and ordinary citizens coming from the ranks of the workers, peasants, professionals and youth in the Philippines. We are saddened that the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo government failed to solve the killings, even when lives are taken almost every day, including a significant number of church leaders and youth.
Since Arroyo assumed the presidency through a popular uprising in 2001, there have been 692 victims of extrajudicial killings in the country—106 of them killed during the past six months. Meanwhile, 44 journalists and media practitioners were also killed, making the Philippines the second most dangerous place for journalists next to Iraq.
The number of cases of abduction is also increasing, involving 179 victims who are all still missing to date. The long list of human rights violations continue to widen and worsen (attempted killings, torture, harassment, forced evacuation, military surveillance and harassment). Even peaceful rallies in urban areas are being dispersed; its leaders jailed and accused of inciting to sedition; and demonstrators inflicted with injuries in the course of violent dispersals.
With much value for life and human dignity, we join the Filipino people and the international community in demanding justice for the victims of extra-judicial killings and other cases of human rights violations. We demand for the release and immediate re-surfacing of abducted activists who remain missing until now.
We hold the Arroyo government answerable for the massive loss of lives and the grave human rights violations in the Philippines, which can be considered the worst since the dark days of Martial Law in the 70s. We believe that it is the responsibility of every government to uphold the people’s civil liberties and human rights.
We call on the Arroyo government to stop its “all-out war policy” against insurgency that leaves no distinction between the armed revolutionary movement and the legal democratic organizations. We demand justice for all the victims of the Oplan Bantay Laya (Operation Plan Guarding Freedom), the government's counter-insurgency plan which blatantly brands progressive and legal organizations as “front organizations” of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People's Army and treats civilians as “collateral damage”.
We believe that no person should be subjected to repression because of political beliefs. Those who are active in social issues and concerns including being critical of the Arroyo government should not be victimized of this mad killing-spree. This gravely violates the basic and fundamental rights of every person to freedom of speech, political belief, association and most especially, freedom to live in peace and without the constant threat to one’s life.
We urge the Roman Catholic Church, the Protestant Churches and all other church organizations in the Philippines to lead in the investigation of the killings and other human rights violations. We ask you to play an active role in the pursuit for justice to the victims and their families. We also call on Churches from the different parts of the world to create pressure to the Philippine government to stop human rights violations and demand justice for all the victims and their families.
Moreover, we enjoin all Christian youth to unite and act against these extra-judicial killings in the Philippines. There is no greater imperative for us right now but to stand with our brothers and sisters who are persecuted because of their aspirations for a peaceful and just society. Let us all share their struggles and work for a genuine Exodus of the people from an oppressive and unjust ruler: the Arroyo Regime.
We vow to monitor closely the development in the Philippines, especially the human rights situation and further commit ourselves to be in solidarity with the Filipino people until their long-aspired justice, peace and genuine democracy are achieved.