Message to Pres. Joko Widodo on the 60th anniversary of the Bandung Conference: Uphold the legacy of the Bandung Conference, stand for human rights and justice, #SaveMaryJaneVeloso

save mj tarp(1)Supporters of the #SaveMaryJaneVeloso campaign today called on Indonesian Pres. Joko Widodo to stop the Filipina’s execution as Indonesia officially kicked off the commemoration ceremonies for the 60th anniversary of the historic Bandung Conference yesterday.

The Bandung Conference will be held in Indonesia on April 19 to 24. It will be divided into two parts, first in Jakarta on April 19 to 23 then on April 24 in Bandung, West Java, where the Bandung Conference was held in 1955.

The Indonesian government had earlier announced that all executions would be postponed until the after the end of the conference on April 24.

The Bandung Conference was the first large-scale Asian-African meeting of Asian and African states, representing nearly one-quarter of the Earth’s land surface and a total of 1.5 billion people. The historic conference aimed to promote Asian-African economic, political and cultural cooperation to oppose colonialism and neo-colonialism by any nation. It was a significant step toward the Non-Aligned Movement.

In 1955, the Bandung Conference adopted a 10-point declaration which incorporated the principles of the United Nations Charter. Included in the Declaration are the commitment for the 1) Respect for fundamental human rights; and, 2) Respect for justice and international obligations.

“It is in this spirit that we appeal anew to Pres. Widodo to uphold the legacy of the Bandung Conference and spare the life of Filipina Mary Jane Veloso. Mary Jane’s human rights were violated when she was unscrupulously victimized by a drug trafficking syndicate. She should not be punished but given justice. We are pained that she has been meted the death penalty while her trafficker/s and big drug syndicate operators remain unscathed,” said Migrante International chairperson Garry Martinez.

Martinez also stressed that Mary Jane was also a victim of the very economic, political and cultural conditions that the Bandung Conference strongly opposed. “A single mother of two, Mary Jane was forced by dire straits to seek employment abroad. She was a victim of the Philippine labor export policy, one of the country’s major neo-colonial policies that continues to feed on the desperation of the Filipino people but fails to address the root causes of poverty, landlessness and unemployment.”

“Our Filipino people will always be subjected to tragedies such as Mary Jane’s for as long as the Philippine government sticks to promoting a labor export policy unmindful of the welfare and protection of Filipinos domestically and abroad.  Unless the Philippine government creates enough decent jobs at home to curb forced migration and trafficking, it will always be responsible for every life that is threatened, endangered or lost,” he added.

Martinez likewise appealed to all world leaders attending the Bandung Conference to join the international clamour to stop Mary Jane’s execution. Supporters of the #SaveMaryJaneVeloso campaign will be trooping to various embassies to enjoin heads of state to appeal to Pres. Widodo to spare her life.

The 60th Bandung Conference will be attended by at least 77 countries, in addition to several international organizations such as the African Union, ASEAN, the Arab League and the UN. ###

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