Amnesty International Press Release

11 June 2011

Cagayan de Oro City – International Rights Group says: P-NOY must step
up efforts to free our country from human rights abuse and injustice, on
the eve of Independence Day

On the eve of Philippine Independence Day, Amnesty International
highlighted the continuing human rights abuse and called on President
Aquino to step up efforts to free our country, especially Mindanao, from
impunity and injustice. This call was made by Amnesty International when
it launched its Annual Human Rights report 2011 at Dynasty Hotel in
Cagayan de Oro City on Saturday, June 11.

“Unlawful killings continue in our country under the Aquino government
and justice remains elusive. The families of victims  of the Maguindanao
massacre suffer from delayed justice, “ said Mr. Ritz Lee Santos III,
Chairperson of Amnesty International Philippines.

“We are celebrating our independence from colonization this June 12 but
we cannot celebrate freedom from human rights abuses. We cannot
celebrate freedom from injustice in our country unless President Aquino
and high officials of the Philippine government will step up their
efforts to fight impunity and injustice,”  declared Dr. Aurora Parong,
Director of Amnesty International Philippines.

Amnesty International’s report noted the killing of six journalists in
2010, including radio reporter Desiderio Camangyan in Mati City and
Nestor Bedolido in Digos City.  The report also stated that more than
200 cases of enforced disappearances recorded in the last decade
remained unresolved, as did at least 305 cases of extrajudicial
execution (with some estimates ranging as high as 1,200). Almost no
perpetrators of these crimes have been brought to justice.

The human rights group reported that private armed groups continued to
operate throughout the country, despite government commitments to
disband and disarm them. It noted that President Aquino vowed to disband
and dis-arm private armies but refused to abolish CVOs, the CAFGU and
police auxiliary units.

“President Aquino has to take concrete steps to disband the private
armies in order to curb human rights abuses, especially in Mindanao. The
trial of the alleged perpetrators of the Maguindanao massacre must be
hastened if we do not want the slow justice to be turned in favour of
the perpetrators. ,” asserted Mr. Santos.

Amnesty International’s  report also stated that in the Philippines,
three indigenous peoples were victims of extrajudicial killings in the
past year. It also noted the debates on sexual and reproductive rights
in Congress. Amnesty International has publicly stated that the
Reproductive Health Bill as they are in Congres, at the Senate and the
House of representatives, is a step towards improving the rights to
health especially of women and girls. The organization also said that
the Reproductive health bill will improve access of marginalized sectors
of society and those living in poverty to information and services
necessary for decision making regarding their family.

At the global level, Amnesty International reported that:

* Torture occurred in 98 countries
* Unfair trials occurred in 54 countries
* Prisoners of conscience are held in jails in 48 countries
* Unlawful restrictions of freedom of expression occurred in 89
countries.

“2/3 of the peoples of the world do not have access to justice. We are
launching a Global Call to Action to tip the scales against repression
and injustice. We appeal to leaders of the world, including those in
Asia to adopt a rights- based governance. In the Philippines, we call on
President Aquino and high government officials to help tip the scales
for justice and human rights in our country.  We hope that President
Aquino will not let the legacy of impunity and injustice left by the
Arroyo government to be immortalized.“ appealed Dr. Aurora Parong.

Amnesty International is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary. The
anniversary comes against the backdrop of a changing human rights
landscape, as people across the Middle East and North Africa
courageously confront oppression, tyranny and corruption – often in the
face of bloodshed and state violence. These protests dramatically
demonstrate the need for international solidarity on human rights.

Amnesty International called on the peoples of the world to join its
three million members and supporters worldwide to take action for human
rights. Amnesty International monitors human rights in more than 150
countries and territories of the world.  Amnesty International was
awarded the Noble Peace Prize in 1977.