Statement of Migrante Australia on Professor Gill Boehringer

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“The detention and imminent deportation of Professor Gill Boehringer to Australia proves yet again President Rodrigo Duterte’s intent to silence the voices of international human rights defenders for the Philippines”, said George Kotsakis, Chairperson of Migrante Australia.

Migrante Australia decries the heartless treatment accorded by the Philippine Bureau of Immigration (BI) to Professor Gill Boehringer, a staunch human rights defender of the Filipino people.

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Professor Boehringer flew in to Manila on the 7th of August to spend quality time with his Mindanao-based Filipina wife. He was detained upon arrival and was told “You have been blacklisted, so you are denied entry, and must return to your place of origin on the next flight”. Allegedly, he participated in an anti-APEC rally, in violation of an order prohibiting foreign visitors from participating in rallies in the Philippines.

Professor Boehringer has been in and out of the Philippines – as part of international election monitoring missions in 2007, 2010 and 2013 and of several international human rights fact-finding missions in recent times. He has stood with – in solidarity – with the Filipino people, in the struggle against human rights violations, injustice and exploitation.

At 84 years of age, he is as active and vocal and passionate as ever when speaking about the plight of the Lumad people in Mindanao, the effects of Australian mining on local communities in the Philippines, the relentless war on the poor and extrajudicial killings in the Philippines. Like Sister Patricia Fox, Professor Boehringer has the courage to speak out and the compassion to fight for the rights of poor Filipino people.

For this, he is now blacklisted, his deportation imminent. The Bureau of Immigration is all set to deport him despite medical advice that he is not fit to travel as he risks having deep vein thrombosis and he is currently suffering from cellulitis (swelling) on both legs.

Migrante Australia sees this heartless and gutless action to deny Professor Boehringer to be with his wife as no different from President Duterte’s treatment of migrant workers who are forced to be separated their families in order to secure a brighter future for them. “Blacklisting and deporting Professor Boehringer also means that he will no longer have the facility to visit and spend quality time with his Philippine-based wife whenever he wants to. Duterte is tearing another family apart! How cruel is that!” Kotsakis said.

Stop the deportation of Professor Gill Boehringer! Respect Professor Boehringer’s human rights! Remove Professor Boehringer’s name from the blacklist and allow him to remain in the Philippines!

Migrante Australia
9 August 2018

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Migrante Australia
P O Box 606, Laverton 3028, Australia
Contacts: George – 0413 041514(VIC); Mel – 0414 247154(WA); Reyvi – 0421 116776; Manny – 0404 105899(NSW)
Lina – 0407 841010(NSW); Berlin – 0499 303911(Albury-Wodonga); Steph – 0422 171969(VIC)

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