On International Human Rights Day, Migrante International joined other sectors under umbrella organization Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) in nationwide and international rallies calling to end impunity, stop extrajudicial killings, stop the terrorization and militarization of rural and urban communities and end Oplan Bayanihan.
Migrante International also called for the unconditional release of more than 400 political prisoners, among them 130 sick and elderly political detainees through a general amnesty. “We remind Pres. Duterte of his commitment to a just and lasting peace. The political prisoners should not be used as trump cards in the GRP-NDFP peace talks. The release of political prisoners is a major part of the GRP’s obligation to correct the injustices of previous administrations, as well as proof of its commitment to uphold all previously signed agreements such as the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHIHL),” said Mic Catuira, Migrante International deputy secretary-general.
Catuira said, “We call on Pres. Duterte to do away with Marcosian actions and tactics. He must prove himself still worthy of the people’s trust and confidence by holding accountable all human rights violators in the military, police and in government. He must cease from carrying on the legacies of martial law by putting a stop to Oplan Bayanihan that continues to terrorize communities, under the guise of his government’s notorious ‘war on drugs’,” he said.
Migrante also added its voice to protests against the appointment of General Eduardo Año as the new Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff.
“Año’s appointment sends yet another chilling effect to all human rights defenders. His assignment spells more human rights violations, militarization and state terror under the continuous implementation of Oplan Bayanihan. By appointing Año, Pres. Duterte practically gives license to the AFP to further perpetrate the present culture of impunity and employ more fascist attacks against the people,” he said.
Año was implicated in the abduction and enforced disappearance of activist Jonas Burgos in 2007. He was also involved in the Paquibato massacre that resulted in the killing of three Lumad civilians and the injury of a 12-year-old child in Davao City on June 14, 2015.
Citing the recent “Terror Alert Level 3”, the imminent resurrection of the death penalty and the president himself’s threat of suspending the writ of habeas corpus, Migrante warned Pres. Duterte against using “anti-terror”, “war on drugs” or “war on criminality” to suppress the people’s rights and repress activists and critics. “Filipinos here and abroad are stepping their foot down. We are ready to fight fascism, we will never allow fascist rule to reign,” he said.
Catuira called on all freedom-loving Filipinos around the world to exercise vigilance. “In the end, only through the collective action and determination of the Filipino people, wherever they may be in the world, to assert their democratic rights can genuine change fully be realized.” ###