To NZ’s Future Leaders – Help Press For Justice For Ampatuan

Press Release – Auckland Philippenes Solidarity

Three days away from the elections in New Zealand, Philippine solidarity groups expressed hopes that NZ’s future leaders would play a more active role in supporting human rights protection and peace-building efforts in the Philippines.*22 November 2011***

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*NZ’s future leaders asked to support human rights protection, peace-building in **Philippines***

Three days away from the elections in New Zealand, Philippine solidarity groups expressed hopes that NZ’s future leaders would play a more active role in supporting human rights protection and peace-building efforts in the Philippines.

“We stand proud as the All Blacks emerged champions in the Rugby World Cup. We’d like to stand even prouder that New Zealanders can also be champions in human rights, justice and peace advocacy,” Cameron Walker, Spokesperson of Auckland Philippines Solidarity (APS) says.

Almost two years ago on the of 23rd November 2009, New Zealanders and people around the world were shocked over a horrific crime in the Philippines that claimed the lives of 58 people, including 32 journalists and two women lawyers in a town called Ampatuan, in the province of Maguindanao, Southern Philippines. The Ampatuan massacre is one of the worst single incidents of media killings and election-related violence in the world in recent history.

APS together with the Philippines Solidarity Network of Aotearoa (PSNA) and Wellington Kiwi Pinoy (WKP) sent a letter to the foreign affairs spokespeople of the National, Labour, Green, ACT, Maori, United Future and Mana Parties.

The groups stated in their letter: “Considering that the Philippines is one of New Zealand’s trade and economic partners, we believe that the attainment of political stability and resolution of the human rights crisis in the Philippines should also concern the New Zealand government… If elected, we respectfully ask you to convey a strong message of concern on the Philippine human rights crisis as former PM Helen Clark did in 2007. We specifically ask you to convey to Philippine President Benigno Simeon Aquino III:

* that New Zealand would like the Filipino people to enjoy peaceful elections in the future thus we join calls to dismantle all private armies and to stop the use of all armed forces for electoral fraud;

* that New Zealand would like to see the swift resolution of the Ampatuan massacre and all human rights violations under his predecessor and under his current administration.”

So far the groups got a response from John Minto, Mana Movement Foreign Affairs spokesperson:

“Mana would speak out strongly against human rights abuses in the Philippines and elsewhere in the world. We applaud the work of activists in New Zealand who make these abuses public issues. If I’m elected as an MP I’m personally keen to take the work of I’ve done with Global Peace and Justice Auckland to parliament in defence of human rights and opposition to imperialism.”

Reference:

Cameron Walker

Spokesperson, APS

phsolidarity@gmail.com

full text of the letter

14 November 2011

*Addressed to the foreign affairs spokespeople

Warm greetings from Philippines Solidarity Network of Aotearoa (PSNA), Auckland Philippines Solidarity (APS) and Wellington Kiwi Pinoy (WKP). PSNA, APS and WKP are groups made up of Kiwis and Filipino migrants who support the movements for human rights and social justice in the Philippines. We wish you and your party all the best for your election campaign.

We are writing to all the foreign affairs spokespeople of the political parties likely to be elected to Parliament on November 26th. We will share the responses we receive with both our members and the wider Filipino community in New Zealand.

Almost two years ago on the of 23rd November 2009, New Zealanders and people around the world were shocked over a horrific crime in the Philippines that claimed the lives of 58 people, including 32 journalists and two women lawyers in a town called Ampatuan, in the province of Maguindanao, Southern Philippines. The Ampatuan massacre is one of the worst single incidents of media killings and election-related violence in the world in recent history.

Considering that the Philippines is one of New Zealand’s trade and economic partners, we believe that the attainment of political stability and resolution of the human rights crisis in the Philippines should also concern the New Zealand government.

While the Ampatuan massacre victims’ families are awaiting justice, it is greatly disturbing to hear of more extra-judicial killings under the new president who vowed justice and change during the 2010 election campaign. On 17th October, the murder of Italian missionary Fr. Fausto Tentorio, once again proved the prevailing climate of impunity in the Philippines continues to exist. Fr. Tentorio, an ardent supporter of indigenous people’s opposition to large-scale mining, is the 54th victim of extra-judicial killings under the Aquino government.

If elected, we respectfully ask you to convey a strong message of concern on the Philippine human rights crisis as former PM Helen Clark did in 2007. We specifically ask you to convey to Philippine President Benigno Simeon Aquino III:

* that New Zealand would like the Filipino people to enjoy peaceful elections in the future thus we join calls to dismantle all private armies and to stop the use of all armed forces for electoral fraud;

* that New Zealand would like to see the swift resolution of the Ampatuan massacre and all human rights violations under his predecessor and under his current administration;

We are aware that New Zealand through the Embassy in Manila is involved together with Australia in funding projects of Philippine organisations aimed at improving human rights promotion and protection. We believe that New Zealand together with Australia and other countries can further support human rights promotion and protection in the Philippines by publicly condemning the persistent human rights abuses and reminding the Philippine government of its obligation to fulfill international human rights agreements.

We look forward to your future efforts in support of the quest for justice and peace in the Philippines and other conflict-affected Asian neighbours. You may send your response to this letter through cafca@chch.planet.org.nzand phsolidarity@gmail.com or through APS postal address 34 Titirangi Road, New Lynn, 0600 Auckland.

Kind regards,

MURRAY HORTON Secretary, PSNA
CAMERON WALKER Spokesperson
ROD PROSSER, APS Convenor, WKP

Links:

http://www.humanrightsphilippines.net/2011/11/petition-justice-for-all-victims-of-extra-judicial-killings/

ENDS

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