Posts Tagged ‘Philippine’

Filipino nun wins Weimar human rights award 2015 for fight against mining excesses

August 11, 2015

<p>Sister Stella Matutina explains the threats of large-scale mining in Mindanao during a conference in Manila in early August. (Photo by Leon Dulce)</p>

Sister Stella Matutina explains the threats of large-scale mining in Mindanao during a conference in early August (Photo by Leon Dulce)

A Benedictine nun, Stella Matutina, is the recipient of Germany’s “Weimar Award for Human Rights” 2015 for her anti-mining advocacy in the southern Philippine region of Mindanao.

Sister Stella Matutina has been recognized for “[engaging] herself extraordinarily for the rights of the native population, despite being exposed to permanent threats to her safety due to her engagements”. “This highlights the situation of Mindanao and the Philippines in general where the poor, the farmers, the indigenous peoples, the human rights activists and defenders of the environment endure harassment and face risks and death,” the 47-year-old nun told ucanews.com (Jefry Tupas, 7 August 2015) . More than a personal recognition, Matutina said the award acknowledges the “collective sacrifices” of freedom and environment defenders in the face of a “systematic effort to limit democratic space and security threats”.

Matutina has been a vocal opponent of attempts to convert the farmlands in Mindanao to plantation crops like palm oil, pineapples, and bananas. She has also led a campaign against the entry of large-scale mining companies in tribal communities in Mindanao. In 2012, the Philippine military labeled Matutina a “fake nun” and accused her of being a communist New People’s Army guerrilla. In 2009, soldiers detained Matutina and two other anti-mining activists in the town of Cateel in Mindanao for giving a lecture on environmental awareness to residents of an upland village. Early this year, authorities charged Matutina, other Church leaders and human rights activists with kidnapping, human trafficking, and illegal detention for taking care of displaced tribal people in the provinces of Davao del Norte and Bukidnon.

These are proof that helping the oppressed, the poor, the abused comes with great risks,” said Matutina, chairwoman of the Sisters Association of Mindanao and secretary-general of the environment protection group Panalipdan.

Since 1995, the Weimar Award has honored individuals or groups engaged in the fight for freedom and equality, the prevention and condemnation of genocide, the right to free speech, and the respect and preservation of political, ethnic, cultural and religious rights of minorities, among others. The award comes with a 2500,00 Euro stipend.

The same Weimar Human Rights Award went in 2000 to Father Shay Cullen of the Peoples Recovery Empowerment Development Assistance (PREDA) Foundation for his work defending the rights of children and women, victims of human trafficking, sexual abuse and exploitation in the Philippines.

via Filipino nun wins German human rights award ucanews.com.

worth noticing also is the language of Radio Vatican used in its own announcement:

http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2015/08/07/philippine_nun_honoured_with_german_human_rights_award/1163662

Another human rights defender shot dead in Philippines

March 27, 2014

According to ucanews.com of 26 March 2014, unidentified gunmen shot and killed a human rights defender, whose name had appeared on a military hit list, in the northern Philippine province of Ifugao on Tuesday. Cristina Palabay, secretary general of human rights group Karapatan identified the victim as William Bugatti of the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance. She said that Bugatti’s name had appeared on an army list of targeted persons, obtained from undisclosed sources, which included activists and individuals working with farmers’ organizations. Bugatti was described on the list as the “brains” of the New Peoples Army” the military arm of the underground Communist Party of the Philippines. According to Piya Macliing Malayao of the Alliance of Indigenous People of the Philippines, Bugatti was on his way home from the office when he was gunned down. He sustained three gunshot wounds. Malayao said other members of human rights groups in the Cordillera region have also become targets of the military. “Bugatti’s killing sends a gravely disturbing message to members of peoples organizations and human rights defenders in the region,” she said. Last week, Malayao raised concerns about posters that appeared in Ifugao province, bearing the names of tribal leaders and human rights activists who have been tagged as communist rebels. “We now fear for the lives of the others listed on the military’s target catalog,” she said, adding that the list “proves that there are precision strikes being made on unarmed civilians” under the governments anti-insurgency program. Malayao said that during the first 10 weeks of 2014 alone, four indigenous people were killed by government security forces.

via Another activist shot dead in Philippines ucanews.com.

Filippines HRD wins Emilio Mignone award for work against enforced disappearances

December 23, 2013

(Mary Aileen Bacalso receiving the Award in Argentina from foreign Minister Hector Timerman)

Human rights defender Mary Aileen Bacalso from the Philippines received the Emilio F. Mignone International Human Rights Award in Argentina Tuesday last week for her advocacy work in her capacity as the secretary-general of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD). Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman presided over the ceremony, which was conducted at the Argentine Foreign Ministry. It was attended also by representatives from Argentine human rights organizations, and the family of human rights defender Emilio Mignone, after whom the award was named. [Mignone’s daughter Monica disappeared during the Argentine dictatorship]

Bacalso’s own husband was abducted by seven armed men in 1988.  He was released after being tortured and made to admit to the accusations, said Bacalso in a phone interview with InterAksyon.com. In 1998, she co-founded AFAD with two other organizations in India and Sri Lanka as a response to the problem of enforced disappearances in many parts of Asia. In Sri Lanka alone, there were 60,000 cases at the time, according to the AFAD website. From the beginning, they took pointers from and coordinated with human rights groups in Latin America which were formed in the 1980s to take action on enforced disappearances. AFAD now has 11 member-organizations from eight countries, with the main office based in the Philippines. They disseminate information, campaign for the ratification of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, research and document cases, and accompany families of victims of enforced disappearances.

Aside from bringing them recognition, Bacalso said she hoped the award would also give them credibility as they try to convince governments in Asia and in the rest of the world to stop enforced disappearances.

In her acceptance speech, she recalled the adversity faced by those who fought for the rights of the victims of enforced disappearances. “AFAD’s own former Chairperson from Indonesia, Munir, who worked tirelessly for the cause of the disappeared, was poisoned by a lethal dose of arsenic in a flight from Jakarta to Amsterdam via Singapore.” “Our colleagues in Kashmir are persecuted in more ways than one, including non-issuance of passports to restrict their movement and block them from forging solidarity with sister organizations in other countries. “Our leaders in Bangladesh were recently arrested, their office raided and files and pieces of equipment stolen in a desperate attempt to silence them. “In Laos, almost a year ago, development worker Sombath Somphone was taken by the police in broad daylight as evidenced from the CCTV camera footage, yet despite the obvious proof, the Laos government denies knowledge of the victim’s whereabouts. His wife has gone from pillar to post and has knocked on doors of national and international bodies yet her husband is nowhere to be found.” “In the Asian region with a huge number of cases and where defenders face the danger of being disappeared themselves, this award, representing the support of the Argentinian government, is a strong protection to our work in our region,” Bacalso said.

for more information on the Mignone award go to the Digest of awards on: www.trueheroesfilms.org 

 

 

Filipina wins internationa™l rights award for advocacy against enforced disappearances – InterAksyon.com.

Philippine Military admits that Human Rights Defender Bayles was killed by them

April 23, 2013

Karl Ombion, writing for Bulatlat.com, reports that in a court hearing on 18 April 2013  at RTC Branch 55, in Himamaylan City, Adjutant General Alexis Gopico and Lt. Col Ricardo B Bayhon positively identified the two suspects in the brutal murder of Philippine human rights defender Benjamin Bayles as military enlisted men. Edre Olalia, legal counsel of the victim’s family, and Secretary General of National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), confirmed this report. Bayles was murdered 14 June 2010 by two suspects who claimed to be Roger Bajon and Ronnie Caurino when they were captured by Himamaylan police operatives hours after the incident.  Olalia said “the confirmation, positive identification and specific personal pinpointing of the killers of activist Benjamen Bayles by top army officials as enlisted personnel under their command is a welcome development and a high point in making perpetrators of extra judicial killings accountable.This is ultimately a product of public vigilance and pressure by human rights defenders aided also by conscientious legal work, Olalia stressed, but it remains to be seen if this leads to a deeper investigation, determination of other guilty parties, including possibly, superior officers. The accused who are lowly private first class personnel maybe sacrificial dispensable small fry to stop the investigation and let masterminds escape identification and prosecution.”“As in other cases, like that of Jonas Burgos, extra judicial killings and enforced disappearances and other rights violations, there is no closure until there is full justice for the victims,” Olalia concluded.

via Military admits Bayles killers as their own « Bulatlat.

10 Portraits of Human Rights Defenders in the next 10 Days at OMCT

December 1, 2012

As Human Rights Defenders are the voice of those who are deprived of it because they are victims of torture, ill-treatment or summary execution, OMCT (one of the 10 NGOs on the Jury of the MEA) has started a series of portraits of those who excel in the fight against torture and impunity.  From 1 to the 10 of December, the organisation will every day put a different HRD in the limelight. They tell about the challenges and the obstacles they face and the hopes and disappointments they encounter in their everyday life. It s`tarts today with Edeliza Hernandez from the Philippines:

I may not refer to each case in this blog but invite you to visit the OMCT website:  http://www.omct.org/human-rights-defenders/events/2012/11/d22051/