2/12 – OUR CONNECTED STRUGGLE: Treaty of Paris Educational Symposium

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In commemoration of the Treaty of Paris of 1898, the New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP) presents

“Our Connected Struggle: The Treaty of Paris Educational Symposium.”

We will focus on how U.S. imperialism has historically impacted and currently impacts the four nations that the U.S. bought from Spain at the end of the Spanish-American War – the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Guam – their peoples, and their diasporas.

Our Connected Struggle seeks to bring together peoples’ organizations that represent these four nations, to learn from each other, and to build a united front against U.S. imperialism in our homelands today.

The event takes place on Friday, February 12, 6-9pm EST, to coincide with BAYAN USA’s annual Philippine Solidarity Week, which commemorates the anniversary of the Philippine American War of 1899.

Location TBD. Get more information by emailing NYCHRP@gmail.com, or visiting NYCHRP.info.

RSVP on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1691090401174564/

Justice for Eduardo Serrano: Free All Political Prisoners from the Philippines to the U.S.!

For Immediate Release
January 21, 2016

Reference: Rodrigo Bacus, Member & Lean Deleon, Cultural Officer, New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP), nychrp@gmail.com

Justice for Eduardo Serrano: Free All Political Prisoners from the Philippines to the U.S.!

The New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP) sends its deepest condolences to the family and friends of Eduardo Serrano, a Filipino political prisoner who passed away last January 8, 2016 due to cardiac arrest. Recently, he was released from 11 years in prison for trumped up charges. Serrano’s health worsened while in jail and did not receive proper care. We connect the abuse and neglect Serrano and others in the Philippines face with that here in the U.S. struggles to free Mumia Abu Jamal and other political prisoners, who are incarcerated in the prison industrial complex because of their steadfast activism against racism and U.S. imperialism. We demand justice for Eduardo Serrano by holding the Philippine President B.S. Aquino accountable for his death and call to free all political prisoners from the Philippines to the U.S.  

Red Tagging of Activists and Human Rights Defenders

The Philippine police and military continually arrest activists for trumped up cases of kidnapping and murder. Under Aquino’s counterinsurgency program, the real intention of arresting many human right defenders is the government red tagging of activists as members of the New People’s Army, the armed segment of the Communist Party of the Philippines. Red tagging is the practice of publicly labeling organizations or activists as terrorists, communists or rebels. The Aquino administration and past Philippine presidents have used red tagging to silence its critics. The labeling is used to justify and legitimize human rights violations of enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings against human rights activists and defenders.

Arrest and Inhumane Detention Conditions

Philippine political prisoners are detained in hot cells that measure about 16 by 32 feet in size, with a window that barely provides an open crack for fresh air or sunlight in. Furthermore, the cell is filled with more than 20+ other prisoners.

Article 10(1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights guarantees that persons arrested must be treated with dignity. Article 12 of the International Covenant on Economic and Social Rights protects the right of the highest standard of physical and mental health. Since the Philippines is a party to both of these conventions, the Filipino human rights group, KARAPATAN, suggests that the treatment of prisoners in general implicates these two provisions. In particular, the overemphasis in prisons on punitive punishment makes detainees vulnerable to inhumane treatment and conditions. The U.N. Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners and the U.N. Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners both detail the rights of prisoners and how prison conditions can meet acceptable international standards.

We will continue to call on the Philippine government to end red-tagging and counterinsurgency campaign as a tactic to undermine critical voices. We also call on the government to observe human rights laws, particularly those standards in treaties to which the Philippines is a state party, with respect to prison conditions and the treatment of sick, female, and pregnant prisoners. Furthermore, we demand to free all political prisoners from the Philippines to the U.S.!

Justice_for_ES

 

New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP) is a local education and advocacy group based in New York City that works to promote social, economic, and political alternatives that foster democracy and peace based on justice in the Philippines and for Filipinos in the diaspora today.

NYCHRP shares the vision of human rights advanced by the National Democratic movement of the Philippines. NYCHRP educates, organizes, and mobilizes people and communities in NYC to take progressive action to uphold and support human rights in the Philippines and throughout the world.

www.NYCHRP.info

NYCHRP@gmail.com

facebook.com/NYCHRP

Instagram and Twitter: @NYCHRP

To Donate on SquareCash: cash.me/$NYCHRP

 

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Balikbayan: Unpacking the People’s Struggle in the Philippines

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“Balikbayan” is a Pilipino word for “going back home.”

In commemoration of International Human Rights Day and NYCHRP’s 11th Anniversary, hear from members who have returned stateside from our annual program Exposure Trip: Philippine Social Realities (Expo). Expo is a rare opportunity to integrate with communities in the Philippines who are ravaged by human rights violations and to learn how they are organizing to defend their rights to a peaceful livelihood.

In the summer of 2015, Rodrigo Bacus, a migrant Filipino and law student, returned to the Philippines as a Legal Intern for the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL).

BALIKBAYAN
Thursday, December 17, 2015
6:15-9:00pm
CUNY Hunter College, 68th Street & Lexington Ave.
Hunter West Building, 8th Floor, Faculty Lounge

Livestream: http://tinyurl.com/nychrpbalikbayan

NUPL exposed him to the lived realities that people from the most oppressed sectors of the Philippines face and how, as peoples’ lawyers, they utilized legal strategies to support grassroots movements to defend basic human rights in these communities. From visiting political prisoners to attending a nationwide conference to demand an end to destructive mining, from marching in the streets to reintegrating with urban poor communities, Rodrigo learned from the ground how his people, from whom he spent 14 year apart since migrating to the United States, are resisting the reign that the landed, wealthy elite have over the Philippines.

Rodrigo’s exposure trip was preceded by the International Peoples’ Tribunal on the Crimes of the U.S.-Aquino Regime in Washington, DC, in July, which resulted in a guilty verdict against the U.S. and Philippine governments for violations of political and civil rights, economic and social rights, and the right to self-determination. Despite this verdict, human rights violations are still on the rise, especially in Lumad (indigenous) communities in Mindanao, Philippines, where schools built by grassroots movements to educate indigenous children have become targets of violent raids and massacres by the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

The Philippines faces an opportunity to change the course of its history, improve the people’s quality of life, and commit to a system of government that sustains those efforts. NYCHRP invites you to join our struggle and stand together as legal advocates, international allies, and balikbayans (overseas Filipinos) to demand these changes. We invite you to join us as we report back on lessons learned, reflect upon experiences, and discuss how we can strengthen our solidarity to support the fight for genuine democracy and freedom in the Philippines.

Please email NYCHRP@gmail.com for more information.

“Balikbayan” is co-sponsored by:
-Asian American Studies Program (AASP) at CUNY Hunter College
-Coalition for the Revitalization of Asian American Studies at Hunter (CRAASH)

The event will also feature NYCHRP allies who will have just returned from the Philippines from the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) 5th International Assembly and the anti-APEC protests.

NY-based Philippine Human Rights Group Demands an End to Xenophobia, Islamophobia, and U.S. Wars

For Immediate Release
December 10, 2015

Reference: Jackelyn Mariano, Chairperson, New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP), nychrp@gmail.com

NY-based Philippine Human Rights Group Demands an End to Xenophobia, Islamophobia, and U.S. Wars

In commemoration of International Human Rights Day and their organization’s 11th Anniversary, members of the New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines, or NYCHRP, will engage in two major protest actions today to demand an end to xenophobia, Islamophobia, and wars led by the United States around the world.

First, NYCHRP will take to the streets and join a large demonstration in Columbus Circle called for by Arab and Muslim communities and human rights activists in New York City to express solidarity with Iraqi and Syrian refugees, who have lately been the target of racist, xenophobic policy making and media attacks. The demonstration is in response to Republican presidential candidate nominee Donald Trump’s campaign to ban Muslims from the United States and the House of Representatives passing of the stringent American SAFE Act of 2015 (H.R. 4038) on November 19, 2015, which would add further restrictions to people seeking refuge in the United States.

Second, NYCHRP will participate in BAYAN USA Northeast’s “No More Money for Blood!” campaign to protest the proposed increase of U.S. military aid to the Philippines in the federal budget, which the U.S. Congress is scheduled to approve on Friday, December 11, 2015. The U.S. currently sends $50 million to the Philippines in military aid annually. If approved, the U.S. will then send $79 million to the Philippines annually.

“While we decry xenophobia in all its forms, we must also condemn the root causes of the Iraqi and Syrian refugees’ plight – decades of U.S. military intervention and plunder in the Middle East,” said Jackelyn Mariano, Chairperson of NYCHRP. “Both the Philippines and the Middle East have a common imperialist enemy. That is why today we extend our fighting power both to standing in solidarity with the refugees and the Muslim and Arab communities in the U.S. who face xenophobic attacks, as well as to the Philippine people who face the brunt of military attacks fueled by U.S. aid.”

Critics of xenophobia towards Iraqi and Syrian refugees consistently identify that the root of extremism, war, and suffering in their homelands is a consistent policy produced by the collusion of Western empires and the Middle Eastern international bourgeoisie set to gain control of natural resources and political power in the region. Militarization and extraction of natural resources perpetuated by the U.S. through proxy wars have strengthened extremist groups like ISIS as well as exacerbated the lack of access to water and basic necessities. These policies have directly and negatively impacted the lives and welfare of people, especially the poor, in the region, who then have no choice but to flee for safety.

The U.S. has historically enacted the same policies in their “second front” of the Global War on Terror, the Philippines. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), which, in addition to aid, also receives on the ground training from U.S. troops enacted through unequal military agreements such as the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), have intensified their attacks on the Lumad, indigenous peoples in the Philippines’ southern island of Mindanao.

In order to enforce and secure mining operations that are granted by the Philippine government to large-scale foreign corporations, the AFP systematically attacks, harasses, and intimidates Lumad communities to forcibly evacuate and displace them from their ancestral lands. The military operations, fueled by foreign capitalist plunder of natural resources, aim to silence the Lumad from their veritable right to free, prior, and informed consent and the right to live peacefully in the safety of their homes. Millions of displaced Lumad people are virtually refugees within the Philippines, unprotected by their own government and rampaged by U.S. military expanding operations on their lands.

Similarly, people from Iraq and Syria are also reeling from the acts of imperialist powers, and are desperate to find some reprieve by fleeing to other countries like the United States. “The U.S. has to own up to the destructive consequences of its own extractive capitalist policies and avoid further replicating hatred, extremism, and strife by employing Islamophobic policies domestically that further curtail and restrict the rights and freedoms of survivors of war and catastrophe,” said Rodrigo Bacus, a member of NYCHRP. “We must open up our borders to fellow humans seeking refuge from war-torn areas. We must especially rise to this duty when the wars they are escaping have been fueled by our own country’s intervention and military backing.”

Iraqi and Syrian refugees already go through a complex and elaborate processes and lengthy background checks to appease concerns over national security and anti-terrorism. These processes may take years to complete and force refugees into a dangerous situation where too much time spent in the process may be too late to reach safety. “The more restrictions, background checks, and complications are put in the way of a refugee application, the less likely refugees will be successful overall in fleeing the dangers that are clear and present in their homelands,” continued Bacus. “The U.S. has an obligation to refugees under international law to protect people when their life and liberty would be in danger. The American SAFE Act of 2015 completely runs afoul of human rights norms.”

“The American people must reevaluate what fuels our anger during this refugee crisis. We cannot blame victims of war. We also have to face our own complicity in funding wars abroad,” stated Mariano. “Over fifty percent of the U.S. federal budget goes towards military spending. The result of that are mounting death tolls and decreased resources for basic human needs domestically. Private corporations profit off of war, discrimination, and xenophobia while our public education, housing, and health systems suffer.”

Starting today, NYCHRP will join BAYAN USA Northeast in a social media blast to demand that the U.S. Congress, as it votes on the federal budget, cut military aid to the Philippines. “As U.S.-based Filipinos and allies, we do not want our tax dollars funneled towards killing our own people,” said Mariano. Activists will Tweet their demands to members of the Congressional Budget Committee, including Scott Garrett (R-NJ), Bill Pascrell (R-NJ), and Donald Norcross (D-NJ), and members of the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Subcommittee, including Nita Lowey (D-NY), Jose Serrano (D-NY), and Barbara Lee (D-CA).

#HRTrumpsOppression
#StandUp4Syrians
#StandUp4Iraqis
#CutUSMilitaryAid2PH
#StopTheKillings


New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP) is a local education and advocacy group based in New York City that works to promote social, economic, and political alternatives that foster democracy and peace based on justice in the Philippines and for Filipinos in the diaspora today.

NYCHRP shares the vision of human rights advanced by the National Democratic movement of the Philippines. NYCHRP educates, organizes, and mobilizes people and communities in NYC to take progressive action to uphold and support human rights in the Philippines and throughout the world.

NYCHRP.info
NYCHRP@gmail.com
facebook.com/NYCHRP
Instagram and Twitter: @NYCHRP
To Donate on SquareCash: cash.me/$NYCHRP

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BALIKBAYAN: Unpacking the People’s Struggle in the Philippines

 

The New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP) cordially invites members of our community to sponsor an event we are hosting called “BALIKBAYAN: Unpacking the Peoples’ Struggle in the Philippines.”

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BALIKBAYAN, a Pilipino word that translates to “going back home,” is a report back presented by NYCHRP members who have returned from our annual program Exposure Trip: Philippine Social Realities (Expo). Expo is a rare opportunity to integrate with communities in the Philippines who are ravaged by human rights violations and to learn how they are organizing to defend their rights to a peaceful livelihood.

This year, NYCHRP member Rodrigo Bacus participated in Expo in the Summer of 2015 as a legal intern with the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL), with whom he visited political prisoners detained on trumped up charges, attended a national conference to fight destructive foreign mining projects that displaced indigenous peoples, participated in a mass defense team for protest actions led by grassroots activists, and integrated in an urban poor community that was fighting demolition.  

The event will also feature NYCHRP allies who will have just returned from the Philippines from the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) 5th International Assembly and the anti-APEC protests. BALIKBAYAN will take place on Thursday, December 17, 2015, 6:15-9:00pm, at a location to be determined.

As a sponsor, NYCHRP would like to request your participation in the following ways:

  1. Helping us outreach to your networks to invite them to BALIKBAYAN and spread the word about NYCHRP’s work in the human rights community. You can find a shareable link to our Facebook event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/944854805581728/;
  2. Attending BALIKBAYAN, and bringing literature about your organization to share at our check-in table; and/or
  3. Donating funds or in-kind resources (such as beverages, poster board, paint, and markers) so that we may arrange a full program and provide refreshments for attendees. Excess funds will go to the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns’ (NAFCON) Adopt-A-Community campaign and to support the next batch of NYCHRP Exposurists.

Please let us know if you or your organization would like to sponsor BALIKBAYAN in any of these ways by emailing us at NYCHRP@gmail.com. We will ensure to acknowledge your contribution on our Facebook page and at the event itself.

 

NYCHRP Speech at Justice for Jennifer Laude Vigil

On Sunday evening, October 11, 2015, BAYAN USA North East Queer Caucus with GABRIELA New York and TransJustice of the Audre Lorde Project led a vigil and march of over 60 activists and community members along Roosevelt Avenue in Woodside, Queens, to honor the life of Jennifer Laude, a Filipina woman, brutally killed one year ago by U.S. Marine Scott Pemberton and to demand immediate justice for her case, while calling for an end to all forms of violence against women and LGBTQIGNC people of color.

NYCHRP’s speech is below, which was read by our member, Renee Daniel:

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Good afternoon everyone! I am Renee Daniel and I organize with the New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines or NYCHRP. We are a collective of queer, straight, Filipinos, and non-filipinos committed to advancing the vision of national democracy in the Philippines and fighting for liberation of all peoples, from all over the world and all sectors. We are gathered today to show our persistence in calling for justice for our sister Jennifer Laude who was ruthlessly killed by a US servicemen one year ago in the Philippines.

We call for an end to the VFA, Visiting Forces Agreement, and the EDCA, Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, two bilateral policies between the US and the Philippines that station American troops in the Philippines for Filipino security. But instead of reassurance there has been an increase in rape. Instead of safety, call it subordination. Instead of consent, call it captivity. For far too long the US has used the Philippines as its playground, toyed our people as commodities, puppeted our government, and forced us to play neoliberal patriarchal policies that continue to break our brown, poor, and queer bodies. It is because of the VFA that a year has passed with no justice for Jennifer while her murderer gets to sit comfortably on a US ship docked in the Philippine waters.

Increased militarization by the U.S. has shown time and time again the violence of mainstream masculinity and the power and coercion it flaunts. The U.S. collaborates with the Armed Forces of the Philippines in serving and protecting the interests, not of the people, but of big foreign corporations as they continue to violate human rights. Just 40 days ago, we found out about the killings of three leaders in indigenous communities in Mindanao by paramilitary forces. These leaders were mentors in a community of schools that taught about sustainability, indigenous culture, human rights, and positive values of the LLGBTQ – Lumad, Lesbians, Gay, Bi, Trans, queer community. These were people who were invested in the education of children, teaching and imagining a world that was free from discrimination of all peoples. But the military continues to harass, torture, and murder our people. There are over 6,000 US troops stationed in Mindanao–that is 3,000 more US soldiers than Iraq! The Philippine and US military are primarily stationed in areas where foreign businesses like mining corporations are continuing to extract resources from the land. Again, who is the military protecting?

We will continue to see US military expansion and violation of human rights, indigenous peoples rights, women’s rights, and queer/ trans people’s rights all over the Pacific with the passing of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (or TPP) this past week. The new economic deal will continue to make countries like Japan and the US richer on the backs of millions of poor people. The TPP will continue to privatize public goods, such as a push by large pharmaceutical companies to further privatize hospitals and HIV/AIDS medication that will make it inaccessible for working class queers to access basic health services. We do not want a Trans Pacific Partnership between states, we want Trans solidarity across the Pacific!

The US will not get away with the murder of Jennifer Laude and countless others in their pursuit of power. The US cannot get away with impunity in our homelands and expect us Filipinos to massage its broken ego. WE SAY NO! Instead, we are going to break the US empire. Today, on National coming out day, we honor Jennifer Laude by coming out to the streets!

Justice for Jennifer Laude!
No Justice No Peace! Stop the Killings in the Philippines!
Stop Lumad Killings!
Junk VFA! Scrap EDCA!
US Troops Out of the Philippines!
No to TPP!

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NYCHRP Solidarity Statement on the Occasion of the 1st Year Anniversary of the Disappearance of the Ayotzinapa 43

NYCHRP Solidarity Statement on the Occasion of the 1st Year Anniversary of the Disappearance of the Ayotzinapa 43

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To our companer@s of Ayotzinapa NY and all social movements calling for justice for the mass disappearance of the 43 Ayotzinapa students:

The New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP) continues to stand in solidarity with you all as September 26, 2015 marks the 1-year anniversary of the 2014 Iguala mass kidnapping and massacre of 43 student activists. From the Philippines, to Mexico, to New York City, the crisis of enforced disappearances and culture of impunity that plague our homelands, pushes us to grieve together but more importantly, to build power within our communities to continue the fight for justice, peace, and liberation.

The Philippines has shared common struggles with Mexico since the 16th Century, at the dawn of Spain’s development as a capitalist economy. Spain sought to extract and exploit the land, the resources, and the people of our homeland to feed the increasing greed of its growing bourgeoisie, and to serve its utter dependence to more advanced and insatiable capitalist societies. As a result of our peoples fighting for centuries against colonization, against the pillage of our homes, against the murder and abuse of our families, and the theft of our land and our heritage, the Philippines and Mexico were successful in ousting one colonizer! Here in the US, we have seen the power of cross-ethnic solidarity between Filipinos and Mexicans. It is because of the joined union of Filipinos led by Larry Itliong, Philip Vera Cruz, and other farmworker manongs and Mexicans led by Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, that the United Farm Workers movement was successful in winning better wages and working conditions for farmers in Delano, California, and other agricultural hubs in the U.S.      

Despite our victories, our struggle continues. U.S. neoliberal policies such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has wreaked havoc on Mexicans since the early ‘90s. The surge of American subsidized farm products put many Mexican family farmers out of business, subjected up to 20 million people into food poverty, and pushed thousands of hundreds to migrate to the North where they faced xenophobia and incarceration. Similarly, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) threatens to do the very same and worse for the Filipino people.

It is because of our shared struggle and the continuing systems of oppression we face from U.S. imperialism and state terrorism that we must continue to show up for one another. This year, on the International Day of the Disappeared, August 30, 2015, NYCHRP with Ayotzinapa NY planted 43 seeds in the memory of the Ayotzinapa students, and an additional 27 seeds in the memory of 27 Filipino activists who were forcibly disappeared under the current administration of President Aquino. Additionally, both communities helped each other in organizing, outreaching, and actively participating in holding international tribunals that hold their respective governments accountable for their human rights atrocities.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto at the United Nations General Assembly in New York  recently addressed governments all over the world in his pledge for peace and human rights. But we stand strong with Ayotzinapa NY in calling out his farce speech, and instead are calling him what he truly is, a murderer! Nieto is a mirror of the Philippine President, Benigno S. Aquino III, who has attempted to wash his hands clean of the blood that his administration continues to execute from the murder of farmers in Hacienda Luisita to the recent killings of indigenous leaders in Mindanao committed by his Armed Forced of the Philippines, in which he also denied an independent UN fact finding and investigation mission. Nieto and Aquino’s talking points at the UN on human rights and economic development will continue to be false rhetoric and we must continue expose the truth behind their lies!  


NYCHRP is honored and filled with fervor to continue to build with Ayotzinapa NY. Your voice in calling attention to human rights in Mexico is not done in vain. We hear you and you hear us. We will continue to agitate, organize, and mobilize together even if our governments try to silence us and divide us by abducting, kidnapping, and taking away our friends and families to places where we may not know of even today. We should not relent to neocolonial and neoliberal forces that attempt to constrict our human rights and dignity. We must fight against imperialism. We must fight against NAFTA and TPP. We must fight to grow the seeds sown by our disappeared for a society that defends and protects the people from human rights abuse and exploitation. We must continue in their struggle and fight for justice for the desaparecidos.

Resurface Desaparecidos!

Alive they took them! Alive we want them back!

The people united will never be defeated!

Ang tao, ang bayan ngayon ay lumalaban!

El pueblo unido jamas sera vencido!

Oust Aquino! Oust Nieto! End US imperialist wars!

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NYCHRP Statement on the 43rd Anniversary of Martial Law in the Philippines

For Immediate Release
September 23, 2015

Reference: Natalie Agosto, Mass Campaigns Officer, New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines, nychrp@gmail.com

NYCHRP Statement on the 43rd Anniversary of Martial Law in the Philippines

NYCHRP participating in internationally coordinated action led by International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) to bring attention to the systematic killings of Lumad people in Mindanao. Union Square, NYC. Photo Courtesy of Balitang New York.

NYCHRP participating in internationally coordinated action led by International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) to bring attention to the systematic killings of Lumad people in Mindanao. Union Square, NYC. Photo Courtesy of Balitang New York.

On September 21, 1972, President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law in the Philippines by ordering Proclamation No. 1081 and subsumed the country under military rule. He claimed to fight a war against “dangerous communists” and “insurgents.” Marcos’ ulterior motives for imposing martial law, however, was to quell dissent towards an already oppressive establishment that he led. Many activists and oppressed people were harassed, tortured, killed, and forcibly disappeared during this time as the military went on a rampage to exterminate the people’s spirit of resistance. The Filipino people’s discontent was caused by rising national debt, government corruption, underdevelopment of industries, privatization of basic services, and landlessness of peasant farmers who make up the majority of the population.

Despite its force, the military could not eradicate the people’s strength and power. They rose up and organized by the thousands to topple martial law and the Marcos dictatorship. The will and power of the people stopped martial law in 1981. However, the fight for freedom and an end to state repression continues today, four decades later.

We see the concrete realities of this continued struggle for resistance in the small community of Han-ayan, in the Caraga region of Mindanao. Caraga is one of the mining capitals of the world. It is rich in gold, bauxite, nickel and other minerals and precious metals. Foreign large-scale mining corporations from all over the world, particularly from Australia, Japan, and the United States, occupy Caraga to extract its wealth.

In Han-ayan, two schools were formed by indigenous Lumad people in response to the lack of education they receive from the government and a need to teach their youth their rights and a sustainable livelihood. The schools are Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV) and Tribal Filipino Program of Surigao del Sur (TRIPFSS). These schools have aided in teaching the students not only literacy and arithmetic, but also lessons about how they can organize to stop foreign mining from encroaching on their ancestral lands and displacing them from their homes.  

In 2010, a young man from Han-ayan was shot in the back by members of the military after he left his home before the 5:00am curfew imposed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines to strip abaca in the forest. Stripping abaca, a strong fibrous plant which can be woven into useful products such as baskets and clothing, is how his family and many others in his community are able to provide for themselves. During the curfew, his family made less money because they could not begin working as early as they normally would. 

His friends found him injured and brought him to a hospital, but that hospital refused to treat him, as did the next one after that. The third hospital attended to him but did not report the military issued bullet that they removed from his back even though it was protocol to do so. The hospital staff told him that he must have shot himself in the back. Since the shooting, he can no longer carry heavy loads or eat too much, which has harmed his ability to provide for his family. He has lived in constant fear of the military finding him again and completing the first task they had set to do. His story is just one example of the systematic oppression that others in Han-ayan live under.

When we ask who the military are protecting in Mindanao, our answer is clear. It is not the Lumad, who they kill, harass, and displace. It is the corporate interests of the foreign mining companies that the Lumad, who have ancestral rights to the land they pillage, have opposed. Can we say martial law has truly ended when young students still fear walking within their own communities because the military may target and kill them? Can we say martial law has truly ended when children are displaced from their homes and schools by the threat of military troops who will burn their buildings if they don’t leave? Can we say martial law has truly ended when leaders of schools that serve marginalized and oppressed populations of Lumad people are brutally targeted and murdered?

Marcos’s Martial Law officially ended over 40 years ago, but a new version has emerged under a different name and face. It was Oplan Banta Laya, under the Arroyo administration, which killed over 1,000 civilians. Today, it is Oplan Bayanihan, under current President Aquino, which is already responsible for the deaths of over 200 civilians. And it will continue under whatever counterinsurgency programs subsequent presidents introduce unless the people collectively resist state-sanctioned violence and repression.

Just as in the time of Marcos, the people continue to rage against the killing machine of the Philippine government, and we must support them in the face of escalating human rights injustice! As human rights activists in the United States, we have to oppose the fact that our tax dollars are used to fund the government death squads that target the Lumad and other peoples’ movements in the Philippines. NYCHRP supports fighting for a Philippines that is truly free from foreign domination and corporate greed. The people have proven themselves to be strong and they will be victorious in shutting down all forms of oppression once and for all through the fight for national democracy. National democracy is the only answer to ensure that foreign corporate interests will no longer determine what is good for the Filipino people, but that the Filipino people are able to reap the benefits of their own rich land and their own labor!

Fight for National Democracy in the Philippines!
Stop Lumad Killings!
Save Our Schools!

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New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP) is a local education and advocacy group based in New York City that works to promote social, economic, and political alternatives that foster democracy and peace based on justice in the Philippines and for Filipinos in the diaspora today.

NYCHRP shares the vision of human rights advanced by the National Democratic movement of the Philippines. NYCHRP educates, organizes, and mobilizes people and communities in NYC to take progressive action in upholding and supporting human rights in the Philippines and throughout the world.

For more information, please contact:
facebook.com/NYCHRP
NYCHRP@gmail.com
@NYCHRP on Twitter & Instagram

This week in NYC! Defend human rights in the Philippines and around the world!

Monday, 9/21/15, 6:00-7:00PM
Stand Up for Lumad! Stop the Killings in Mindanao!
Union Square Park, 14th Street
https://www.facebook.com/events/424749041064288/

Thursday, 9/24/15, 4:30-5:30PM
Light the Way: Prayers for Climate Action
One Dag Hammarskjold Plaza
240 E 47th Street
https://www.facebook.com/events/1904101856482422/

Thursday, 9/24/15 – Monday, 9/28/15
Stop the War on the Poor and the Planet: Time for Justice!
Week of Action
https://www.facebook.com/events/743323195795134/

Friday, 9/25/15 – Saturday, 9/26/15
International Tribunal of Conscience in Commemoration of the 1st Anniversary of the Ayotzinapa 43
NYU Global Center for Academic and Spiritual Life
238 Thompson St., Rm 475
https://www.facebook.com/events/1437906336540096/

Saturday 9/26/15, 5:00PM
Open the Borders! Migrants, Refugees, Workers Unite!
Rally and March to End Forced Migration.

Meet at the arch in Washington Square Park. Will end at St. Francis of Assisi Church.
https://www.facebook.com/events/885680441513235/

Saturday 9/26/15, 7:00PM
International Tribunal of Conscience Cultural Night
135 W 31st Street
https://www.facebook.com/events/507376492748934/

For more information, please contact:
facebook.com/NYCHRP
NYCHRP@gmail.com
@NYCHRP on Twitter & Instagram

NYCHRP Solidarity Statement on the Occasion of the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance 5th General Assembly

NYCHRP Solidarity Statement on the Occasion of the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance 5th General Assembly

To our comrades in the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance-Karapatan:

Warmest greetings of solidarity on the occasion of your 5th General Assembly! Despite the vast distance between us, as overseas supporters of Karapatan and defenders of human rights, we stand firmly with you in advancing the theme of the Assembly “With Feist and Fervor, Fight Against State Terrorism!” We are submerged in the disheartening news that human rights violations against indigenous people, peasant farmers, and other oppressed sectors are heightening throughout the archipelago. We recognize and support the timeliness of CHRA-Karapatan’s Assembly to unite the Cordillera region on the urgent human rights work that must be launched to combat violent state-sanctioned repression fueled by President Aquino’s United States-backed counterinsurgency program Oplan Bayanihan. As neoliberal globalization proliferates – threatening Philippine sovereignty through sham free-trade agreements like the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, deregulating legal protections that allow foreign large-scale mining companies and agribusinesses to destroy the natural ecology, and keeping the Filipino people slaves to a feudal economy that exploits labor and ancestral lands – we affirm that it is your just duty to fiercely resist these systems by any means necessary, because you are on the frontlines of this struggle.

The New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines was founded on International Human Rights Day, December 10, 2004 during a speaking tour by then-Secretary General of Karapatan, Marie Hilao Enriquez. Since then, NYCHRP has committed ourselves to educate the international community on the human rights crisis in the Philippines by conducting public educational discussions and disseminating information through other creative means; waging campaigns and political advocacy that help progress the human rights movement; and contributing to the strength of the movement by regularly participating in solidarity and fact-finding missions in the Philippines.

NYCHRP’s membership is made up of Filipino Americans and other allies who understand that our role in New York City is to maximize our proximity to the United Nations headquarters to advance the people’s movement for human rights in the Cordillera region and across the Philippines. For almost a decade, we have hosted comrades from CHRA-Karapatan who visit New York City to report at the UN’s Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and challenge policies that perpetuate Cordillera people’s oppressive conditions. We look forward to your arrival annually and appreciate the rare opportunities to share spaces and learn how CHRA-Karapatan is continually fighting for indigenous peoples’ and the Filipino people’s liberation.

NYCHRP commits to continue serving as your allies. We hope that in turn, you will welcome our visits to the Cordillera region for solidarity and fact-finding missions there. Please continue to keep us abreast of the developments of the human rights movement and let us know how we can best support your campaigns and bring international attention to your region. From within the United States, the belly of the imperialist beast, we vow to wage campaigns to end U.S. military aid to the Armed Forces of the Philippines, which we know is one of the root causes of the violent offensives that the Philippine government commits. We admire your revolutionary fervor and seek to emulate it in our solidarity work from abroad!

RESIST STATE TERRORISM! FIGHT FOR LIBERATION!
KARAPATAN NG MAMAMAYAN, IPAGLABAN!

~~~

New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP) is a local education and advocacy group based in New York City that works to promote social, economic, and political alternatives that foster democracy and peace based on justice in the Philippines and for Filipinos in the diaspora today.

NYCHRP shares the vision of human rights advanced by the National Democratic movement of the Philippines. NYCHRP educates, organizes, and mobilizes people and communities in NYC to take progressive action in upholding and supporting human rights in the Philippines and throughout the world.