Dear fellow migrants and advocates,
Migrante International joins other concerned sectors of Philippine society and the international community in demanding justice for the Filipina allegedly raped by Panamanian diplomat Erick Shcks. Though the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) had already declared Mr. Shcks persona non grata, we convey our dismay that he was allowed to leave Philippine shores without undergoing due process for the heinous crime. To this day, it remains unclear if he will be called back to face a criminal trial.
Migrante International conveys its dismay over the so-called “diplomatic immunity” that Mr. Shcks enjoys and that which is being upheld by the Philippine government. We believe that no immunity should be granted any “visitor” especially for blatant criminal violations to any Filipino’s right to justice and to the Filipino people’s sovereignty.
We call on all of Migrante International’s chapters and networks all over the world to put considerable pressure on the Philippine government to act more strongly on this case. As defenders of human rights, access to justice and national sovereignty, we appeal to you to send letters and to disseminate the call to action widely.
Below is the sample letter that should be addressed to the following:
Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairperson
H.E. Roberto Carlos Vallarino Moreno
This letter is written with utmost concern regarding the recent release from custody of the Panamanian national accused of raping a 19-year-old girl in Makati on April 24, 2012. The decision rendered by the Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs to first deny diplomatic immunity to Mr. Erick Rayneldo Bairnals Shcks, and then to eventually grant this privilege of immunity upon further review evokes much outrage and disappointment.
Given the gravity of the situation, we demand that the government of Panama waive the diplomatic immunity granted to Mr. Shcks and that additionally he surrender to the court of law and face just legal proceedings in the Philippines.
As an advocate of Filipino people’s rights, I/we assert that rape must be viewed as a serious criminal offence regardless of nationally defined borders and citizenship statuses. Additionally, I/we assert that victims of this type of heinous crime are entitled to access justice and a fair trial, and thus in this particular situation the accused should not be granted diplomatic immunity.
Migrante International is a global alliance of overseas Filipinos and their families from more than 120 member-organizations in over 23 countries, making it the biggest organization of overseas Filipinos in the world. It is an active defender of the rights and welfare of Filipinos by raising public awareness on their plight and providing a critical analysis of the Philippine government’s one-sided foreign policies.###