Subject: Detained Canadian student released and on flight back to Canada from   Philippines
Date: Sun, 15 Sep 2013 13:49:35 -0400
From: CAP-CPC <capcpc@web.ca>
Organization: Centre d’appui aux Philippines

 

Sunday, September 15, 2013                                                                         FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Detained Canadian student released and on flight back to Canada from Philippines

At 8:30 pm Manila time on Sunday, September 15 (8:30 am EST), Canadian student Kim Chautillon Meunier was able to take her flight from Manila’s NAIA Terminal 2 to Vancouver, Canada after being released from detention.

Kim was able to send a short text message from the plane: “Im on my flight, direct to vancouver with philippines airline 😀 I could never thank you enough for you help and I will always remeber it. People’s lawyer and Karapatan were outstanding, you can count on my support.”

This is excellent news and is the result of strong pressure put on the Philippines authorities by the human rights organization, KARAPATAN, assisted by lawyers from the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) and other Philippine organizations in concert with organizations and individuals in Canada and around the world. Canadian government officials were also apparently in contact with Kim. Particular kudos to Tinay Palabay (Karapatan) and Edre Olalia (NUPL) and their respective organizations for a job very well done.

Kim’s detention received top level media attention in the Philippines and in Canada (TV and radio reports in both French and English on CBC, CTV, etc.) and was accompanied by a barrage of letters, e-mails, and other messages to the Philippine government and Canadian government officials. The rapidity of the strong response served to force the release of Kim during the weekend and in the face of some Philippine government officials’ attempts to delay any response until offices opened on Monday.

Kim was primarily in the Philippines for her internship requirement at the Université de Montreal, Canada where she is a regular student. She was selected by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) to go into an internship program in the Philippines called ‘Students for Development’ sponsored and financed by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Kim was involved in the research and documentation of the reproductive health conditions of women in Tondo, Manila , with the Philippine organization, LIKHAAN.

While in the Philippines , Kim was able to attend the International Conference on Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRPP) in July. She also joined the International Solidarity and Humanitarian Mission in Quezon Province , along with other foreign participants, shortly before the Conference.

We at the Centre for Philippine Concerns are very pleased for Kim, her family and loved ones here in Montreal , Quebec , Canada , who have been on a roller coaster ride of emotions since learning that Kim had been detained on September 13 as she attempted to board a plane to return home. She was imprisoned for apparently attending a rally in the Philippines last July. This action, which eye witnesses report Kim only arrived at late and simply observed, was attended by over 15,000 people on July 22, 2013. Such rallies have become a regular occurrence during the yearly State of the Union Address (SONA) by the Philippine President, with the Filipino people using SONA to address their concerns for better working and living conditions to the Philippine government.