Dear friends,

Sharing with you the statement of Gill Boehringer, Australian law professor and human rights defender, who has been held at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 since midnight of August 8, 2018 by the Bureau of Immigration (BI). Prof. Gill is already 84 years old and is suffering from several ailments.

We call on everyone to widely circulate Prof. Gill’s statement. Please join us in the call for the BI and the Duterte government to #HandsOffGill.

Karapatan Public Information Desk

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Statement of Gill H. Boehringer

Although I have had no formal notification from the Bureau of Immigration as to the basis for my exclusion from the Philippines, I wish to respond to the reports circulating in the media. It is alleged by the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) that I am associated with “Communist Terror Groups”. That is preposterous. It seems that in the Philippines today almost anyone can be labelled a terrorist or in association with terrorists. I deny the accusation. I certainly am not a supporter of terrorism from whatever source.

It is further alleged that I attended a rally against an APEC meeting in November, 2015.Tthe legality, or not, of attending such a rally is a vexed question at the present time. I will not enter that debate at this point. What I will say is that I did not attend that rally. The charge is false.

A further allegation is that I attended a rally in February, 2018. This is also false. There was no rally or political activity. There was a trip to the forested mountains of the Caraga region, Mindanao to observe the educational activities at a primary school for indigenous (lumad) children run by the Triba lFilipino Program of Surigao del Sur (TRIFPSS). Amongst my special interests in teaching and research as an academic are the processes of educations, which I previously lectured in at the Open University, U.K., and the circumstances of indigenous people and their environmental custody of the land in my own country, in the Philippines and elsewhere. We did observe the interaction between the lumad students and the staff of the TRIFPSS school in and out of the classroom. We were able to exchange views with the school staff, the students and the community that supports the school.

I believe there is no basis for my exclusion from the Philippines in what was an educational experience for myself, the others who travelled with me into the mountain district, and also, I like to think, for those we met with there.

I have instructed my lawyers to contest all allegations against me, and to seek the lifting of the “blacklist{“, the “watchlist” and the exclusion order.

I would ask the government to recognize me as a person who has visited the country over many years with no subversive intent. I have sought in an intellectual way, through public dialogue, to aid in the maintenance of the rule of law and the structures and processes of democracy. It is true that as an individual-a Devil’s Advocate perhaps- I have been a critic of some of the policies and practices of three successive governments since coming to the Philippines as an International Election Observer in 2007 and 2010. Are those the activities of a terrorist? Surely not. Rather they might more appropriately be considered an attempt to make a rational contribution within the vibrant national discourse about how democracy can be strengthened, the rule of law protected and social justice ensured.

Finally, I would like to express my appreciation to all those who have responded to my plight around the globe. I am especially grateful for the support I have had from many individuals and organizations in the Philippines who have taken action to protect my legal rights, including my medical safety.

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Attachment(s) from International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines | View attachments on the web 1 of 1 File(s)
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PUBLIC INFORMATION DESK
publicinfo@karapatan.org
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Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
2nd Flr. Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin corner Matatag Sts., Central District
Diliman, Quezon City, PHILIPPINES 1101
Telefax: (+63 2) 4354146
Web: http://www.karapatan.org

KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties. It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign.