UN to Probe Extrajudicial Killings in Davao

Feb. 18, 2007

Leftist groups and the military are jockeying for position and the opportunity to be heard by the United Nations rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, who is scheduled to arrive today in Davao City.

(davaotoday.com photo by Barry Ohaylan)

By Germelina A. Lacorte

Related story: Victims Families Say UN Rep Visit Wont Stop Killings

DAVAO CITY — The human-rights group Karapatan has prepared at least 20 cases of political killings in Mindanao that it would present to Philip Alston, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings who is scheduled to arrive here today.

The cases are among the grave human-rights abuses that if proven, Karapatan said, might blacklist the Philippines out of the group of nations that respect and uphold human rights.

The arrival here of Alston promises to be a battle of cases between progressive human rights groups on one hand and the government military and the police on the other as both sides try to wrest the opportunity to be heard by Alston.

Prober. Philip Alston, the UN rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, arrives in Davao City today (Bulatlat photo)

“It will be the opportunity of the armed forces to defend itself against malicious accusation by dubious organization, said Major Medel Aguilar, commander of the 5th CRG, in a press briefing on Friday. We know for a fact the motive of these organizations is to discredit the armed forces and the government.”

But Kelly Delgado, secretary general of Karapatan in Southern Mindanao, said his group prepared volumes of documents and testimonies of victims and their families to show how unarmed citizens were deprived of their basic human rights by state security forces.

Delgado said that with the identification of perpetrators, they want nothing less than an international condemnation of the country before the international community for grave abuses against its citizens.

Ariel Casilao, secretary general of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), also said Alstons visit alone already affirms the alarming human rights condition in the Philippines.

He said that they have been given their chance to bring their documents to the attention of the UN special rapporteur and that the Philippine government has a lot to explain about its failure to solve the extrajudicial killings.

Once it fails to explain these killings, this government will become faceless in the global community, its status in the United Nations Human Rights Council will be reviewed and it will be condemned among those countries who dont follow the human rights convention, Casilao said.

The country will be blacklisted in the international community because of its failure to uphold human rights, he added.

Delgado said this blacklisting will happen if the government will not show any political will to solve these killings. He said the victims families are hopeful about the international attention that the killings have generated mainly because of the failure of the local courts to solve the cases.

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