KARAPATAN files report on Morong 43 to UN Special Rapporteur and Working Group

PRESS RELEASE

GENEVA, JUNE 10 – The Ecumenical Voice for Peace and Human Rights in the Philippines, or ECU VOICE accompanied KARAPATAN in filing a report on the Morong 43 incident to the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. The same report was submitted to Working Group on Arbitrary Detention of the UN Human Rights Council.

In his letter to Special Rapporteur, Mr. Manfred Novak and Ms. Shaheen Sardar Ali, Vice-Chair Working Group on Arbitrary Detention of the UN Human Rights Council, Mr. Jigs Clamor said, “43 health workers in the Philippines were illegally arrested, tortured and falsely charged with common crimes and are presently detained at a detention facility at camp Bagong Diwa in Taguiug City, Metro Manila, Philippines. These community health workers, one of whom is my wife, Dr. Merry Mia-Clamor, provide health services to the poor and hard-to-reach communities in the country. They were conducting a training for community health workers on February 6, 2010 in Morong, Rizal, when a composite group of heavily armed Philippine National Police (PNP) and Philippine Army (PA) elements raided the venue of the training, blindfolded the victims and herded them like cattle into Army trucks and brought to an undisclosed place.” Clamor is the Deputy Secretary General of KARAPATAN.

Clamor said the report is to inform the UN in Geneva of this incident now known as the Morong 43 so that the Human Rights Council can help urge the Philippine government to render justice to the victims. The Philippine government is a member of the Council. Clamor said “the Morong 43, like the case of the massacre of 57 Filipinos in Ampatuan,
Maguindanao, Philippines in November 2009, is emblematic of the gross, systematic human rights violations and the brazen impunity by which these are committed by the perpetrators, occurring in the country. These violations are being committed under the framework of a brutal, vicious counter-insurgency program being implemented by the Arroyo administration to supposedly end the insurgency upon the end of President Arroyo’s term in June of this year.”

Clamor expressed the hope that the Human Rights Council will look into the Morong 43 “and help us realize some remedies for our loved ones, if not their immediate release from prison.”

The ECU VOICE delegation attended the 14th Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland. The delegation is composed Rev. Fr. Rex Reyes, Jr., General Secretary of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP), with Marie Hilao Enriquez, Chairperson of the human rights alliance, KARAPATAN, Atty. Edre
Olalia, Acting Secretary General of the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), Atty. Carlos Zarate, Secretary General of the Union of People’s Lawyers in Mindanao (UPLM) and one of the lawyers for Atty. Connie Brizuela who was among the victims of the Ampatuan massacre; Dr. Angie Gonzales of the International Coordinating Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines, and Jigs Clamor, Deputy Secretary General of KARAPATAN.

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