Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Alliance slams defense secretary for branding international orgs as fakes, fact finding mission urged

Free the 43 Health Workers Now! alliance today slammed Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales for his attempts to discredit the legitimacy of international organizations that condemned the unlawful arrests and continued detention of the 43 health workers.

Dr. Eleanor A. Jara, one of the spokespersons of the alliance said that Secretary Gonzales’ remarks comes as a no surprise since the government is known to ignore international human rights authorities and tag their findings as prejudgements or part of a smear campaign against the government. She cited former Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales’ reference to UN special rapporteur Philip Alston in May 2009 as a “barking dog that is better left ignored” when Alston took the Philippine government to task for allegedly failing to heed his recommended measures to curb extrajudicial killings.

“The military and their high officials have since been exposed of their human rights violations against the 43. They are now working double time to talk to local and international organizations to justify their unlawful actions,” Dr. Jara said.

The doctor also underscores that the dialogue with the diplomatic community is the Department of National Defenses’ desperate attempt to please foreign governments which continue to pour in resources in human rights promotion. It is ironic that last February 11, days after the Morong arrest, the Philippine government received a hefty sum of €3.9 Million in the Justice Support Project with the European Union. “Unfortunately, the government’s human rights programs only become lucrative sources of corruption.”

With the Philippine government’s track record on human rights violations, the international community knows better.

The alliance encouraged international groups and independent human rights authorities to conduct an international fact finding mission for the 43 health workers while they should also urge their respective governments to stop extending support to Philippine government who continues to violate human rights.

Among the organizations who have earlier expressed their support include International Action for Liberation (Belgium), Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR), Red Mundial de Mujeres por los Derechos Reproductivos RĂ©seau Mondial de Femmes por les Droits Reproductifs (Netherlands), Organizing Centre for Social and Economic Justice (Canada), Health Care Without Harm-Southeast Asia, KASAMMAKO (Korea), Peoples Health Movement and scores of international human rights and religious organizations.##
References:

Eleanor A. Jara, M.D.
Cellphone Number: 0917 978 9297
Telephone Number: (+632) 929-8109

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