Oral Intervention Delivered by Roneo Clamor on behalf of CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizens Participation

Oral Intervention Delivered by Roneo Clamor on behalf of CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizens Participation

Item No. 4 Human Rights situations that require the Council’s attention

14th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

8 June 2010

Roneo Clamor (seated, far left), husband of Morong 43 detainee Dr. Merry Mia-Clamor and Karapatan deputy secretary general, brings the case of the Morong 43 to the UNHRC

Thank you, Mr. President,

I am a human rights defender belonging to a human rights organization in the Philippines, a partner organization of Civicus. This statement is supported by the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, Franciscans International, the Lawyers Rights Watch of Canada and the American Association of Jurists.

We are concerned about the continuing attacks on human rights defenders in the Philippines, and we would like to bring to the Council’s attention particularly the case of the 43 health workers who promote the right to health by rendering healthcare services to the difficult to reach communities but whose rights are continuously being grossly violated. On February 6, this year, they were arrested by state security forces using a faulty warrant and were falsely labeled as members of the rebel movement. They were incommunicado and denied counsel for six days.
The military filed false charges against them for illegal possession of firearms and explosives, to justify their arrest and their continued detention without bail. Other legal shortcuts were resorted to and the Philippine government has used a Marcos-era legal rule to deprive them of their liberty. The Philippine authorities have avoided or questioned any inquiry into their accountability for human rights violations before the Philippine Commission on Human Rights.

For almost three months, the health workers, who have come to be called the Morong 43, were detained in a military camp where they were repeatedly interrogated without counsel, subjected to various forms of coercion, intimidation and indignities as well as psychological torture and deprived of sleep. Some of their relatives have also experienced threats and intimidation.

To date, the 43 health workers are still detained. At present, 38 of them have been transferred and are detained at a regular detention facility, after a loud campaign undertaken by the relatives, local as well as international civil society organizations. The 5 other health workers are still under the military custody, after they have been coerced, intimidated and given lawyers by the military to speak against their interests.

We therefore appeal to the Council to look into this case and to employ all appropriate measures, and urge the Philippine government to respect its pledges and commitments during its UPR as well as its obligations in major human rights instruments. We also call on the Council to strongly urge our government to stop the practice of filing of trumped-up charges against those who are being tagged as its enemies in the context of implementing a counter-insurgency program. Or else, the brazen impunity for gross violations of human rights in my country will continue, contrary to the objectives and efforts of this Council.

Thank you for your attention, Mr. President.

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