SF CHRP (San Francisco Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines) is a San Francisco based human rights advocacy group. Latest news and views on human rights in the Philippines.
Reference: Rupert Estanislao, chair
In a vote on Monday, November 12th, the United Nations General Assembly elected the United States of America to a three-year term on the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), beating out Sweden and Greece by 53 and 56 votes respectively.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised the vote, “We pledge to continue to work closely with the international community to address urgent and serious human rights concerns worldwide and to strengthen the Council.”
“While we wish the UNHRC well in order to strengthen human rights around the world their work will be made that much more difficult with the United States having a seat within that body,” said Rupert Estanislao, chair of the San Francisco Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (SF CHRP). “If Secretary Clinton is truly serious in addressing ‘urgent and serious human rights concerns worldwide’ than she should immediately call for the suspension of all aid to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and to the Aquino administration, which is one of the worst human rights abusers in Southeast Asia.”
The United States has given tens of millions of U.S. dollars annually to the AFP to help “modernize” their equipment and to support its counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan, which has been cited by human rights advocates as one of the key and active programs contributing to the worsening human rights situation in the Philippines.
“With the recent, blatant assassination of lawyer and community organizer Lazaro Gayo, there has been over 114 politically motivated killings, 13 enforced disappearances, and over 20,000 threats of intimidation,” explained Estanislao. “Despite the overwhelming evidence of the AFP’s role in these human rights violations, the United States has refused to denounce President Aquino or the AFP and continues to fund the murderous bloodbath being perpetrated by the AFP and other state-backed and funded militias against the Filipino people.”
“We call on the United States Congress and the recently re-elected Obama administration to sever all ties with the untouchable and murderous soldiers and generals of the AFP,” continued Estanislao. “How can the UN justify the presence of the U.S. on the UNHRC while the U.S. continues to support, militarily and financially, various countries with atrocious human rights records? If the U.S. really cared about the state of human rights in the world then it would waste no time in holding the Aquino administration accountable through various pressures it can muster including, but not limited to, the suspension of all blood money being funneled to the AFP for its anti-people ‘counter-insurgency’ programs such as Oplan Bayanihan.”
SF CHRP is calling on Secretary Clinton to hold true to her words by immediately calling for the suspension of all military aid to the Philippines and for the removal of U.S. troops from Philippine soil which is only adding more fuel to the fire of the culture of impunity that permeates the Aquino administration and the AFP. If the U.S. wants to truly be an advocate for human rights on the international scene then it needs to start holding its closest allies and partners accountable, such as the Philippines, for the various human rights violations that they, through their U.S. acquired funds, have committed.