An Ecumenical Report on Human Rights in the Philippines and a Call to Action

An ecumenical report and a call to action documenting human rights violations in the Philippines will be launched today in Geneva (Palais des Nations, Room XXVII, 14:00), within the framework of the current session of the UN Human Rights Council.

Submitting the report - entitled "Let the stones cry out!" - is an ecumenical delegation from the Philippines whose participation in the Human Rights Council's meeting is being sponsored by the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF).

The report "distills the collective cry for justice of thousands of Filipinos - including more than 800 victims of extra-judicial executions from the year 2001 to the present - who have suffered the brunt of violations of human rights under the Philippine government's counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism strategies".

It presents information on the violations and evidence of the complicity of government security forces, and discusses the historical, social, economic and political context in which the violations are committed, including a "culture of impunity".

An associated call to action is addressed to the UN Human Rights Council as well as to church and religious bodies in the international community and Philippines churches.

The launch of the report and a panel discussion with the members of the delegation is scheduled for 14:00 on 19 March at the Palais des Nations (Room XXVII).

The ecumenical delegation presenting the report includes representatives of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP), the Philippines Ecumenical Bishops' Forum, the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, the Moro Christian People's Alliance as well as the US-based United Methodist Church.

The delegation will meet with the staff of the German mission to the UN, and will attempt to make oral interventions during the plenary sessions of the Human Rights Council on such topics as disappearances and Indigenous issues. It will also meet with staff of the WCC, LWF and other ecumenical organizations at the Ecumenical Centre.

Read the report on the WCC website.

Canada urges arrests, convictions in killings

Canada wants “to see arrests, prosecutions, and convictions” of the perpetrators of extrajudicial killings that continue to claim the lives of activists and journalists in the country.

Adding to the international pressure being brought to bear o the Arroyo government over the killings, Steven Rheault-Kihara, counselor for political and economic relations and public affairs of Canada's embassy in the Philippines, also expressed “great concern” that a witness who testified before United Nations special rapporteur Philip Alston was killed over the weekend. Read more from the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Witness in UN human rights probe shot dead in Misamis

A member of the party-list group Bayan Muna was shot dead in front of her family in Sitio Nabuolan, Barangay Guinalaban in Salay town in Misamis Oriental on Saturday afternoon. The victim, Siche Bustamante-Gandinao, 56, was also a member of the farmers group Misamis Oriental Farmers Association (Mofa).

Gandinao was one of the witnesses who shared their experiences and knowledge of extrajudicial killings in the country during the visit of Phillip Alston, United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial and summary executions.

Read more the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Bayan Muna-Morong coordinator shot dead in Morong, Bataan, Philippines

At around 7:30 in the morning of March 2, 2007, Felisa Timog Ocampo was walking in front of her sister’s store when two men suddenly approached and shot her on the forehead. The gunmen waited for awhile making sure that the victim was already dead before leaving the scene. They threatened those who rushed to the scene not make any move. The assailants fled by in a car with two other men inside escorted with two men on board a motorcycle. Read an account of the incident from Stop the Killings in the Philippines.

Militant union leader killed in Digos

On March 2 Renato Torrecampo Pacaide was walking with his stepdaughter Michelle and her one-month old baby when motorcycle-riding gunmen pumped bullets into his head and body. Michelle and the baby were unharmed but Renato died on the spot. Renato, a 53-year old member of the UCCP Kiblawan, Davao del Sur (Mindanao) and provincial coordinator of Anakpawis (Toiling Masses) Party. Read more from Sun Star Network.

Related articles on Pacaide's murder:
World Day of Prayer Reveals Anguish in the Philippines

Bayan Muna member is murder victim no. 838

A masked man shot dead yet another leftist in Pigcawayan, North Cotabato, just a day after a Bayan Muna member was killed in Misamis Oriental. The toll is now 838 murdered leftists, according to the human rights group Karapatan. Read more from the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Another Anakpawis Leader Killed

Renato Torrecampo Pacaide, 53, secretary general of Nagkahiusang Mag-uuma sa Davao del Sur (NAMADS or Unity of Peasants in Davao del Sur) and coordinator of Anakpawis-Davao del Sur, was gunned down by two motorcycle-riding men at 10:45 a.m. of March 2 in Digos, Davao del Sur. The latest political killing was reported by the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP or Peasant Movement of the Philippines). NAMADS is a local chapter of KMP. Read more from