New York Human Rights Advocates Call for the Release of Rafael Baylosis and All Political Prisoners

New York Human Rights Advocates Call for the Release of Rafael Baylosis and All Political Prisoners

27540630_2061889917171263_1768405012304447907_nOn February 5, 2018, human rights advocates and peace-loving people, including members of BAYAN USA and International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP USA) entered the Philippine Consulate General of New York to demand the release of all political prisoners, including Rafael Baylosis. Bernadette Ellorin, of BAYAN USA, and Hank Broege, of ICHRP USA and NYCHRP, led the group in delivering a letter of concern to Consul General Ma. Theresa B. Dizon-De Vega. The consul general refused to meet with the advocates sending a delegate instead. Ellorin requested that the letter be delivered and demanded to release Baylosis, all political prisoners, and raised concerns about the 13,000 victims of extrajudicial assassinations under President Duterte. Meanwhile, the group started chanting, and calling for the release of Rafael Baylosis, with signs in hand. The security personnel threatened to call the NYPD on the activists.

“The consul general was caught off guard. I hope that they were embarrassed that these human rights violations are ongoing. I hope that we were able to convey that what Duterte is doing is very unpopular and that many people condemn the atrocities that he is committing. I hope that they are more careful with what they do, how they represent themselves, and the issues in the Philippines. People all over the world are finding out about what is going on in the Philippines and the government should feel that pressure under scrutiny,” commented Broege.

On January 31st, peace activist Rafael Baylosis, 69 years old, and his companion, Roque Guillermo Jr., were arrested by members of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-National Capital Region  (CIDG-NCR) on trumped-up charges. Rafael Baylosis is a long-time activist and labor leader. He is also a peace consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). The arrest of Baylosis violates the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), which the government of the Philippines is obligated to follow.

On January 26, 2018, President Rodrigo Duterte, repeated his vow to crush the New People’s Army (NPA) within the year, including the so-called ‘legal fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). With these recent threats, the Philippine government has executed a renewed round of harassment against activists including Vencer Crisostomo (Chairperson of Anakbayan), Einstein Recedes (Secretary General of Anakbayan), Teddy Casino (BAYAN MUNA Partylist), Renato Reyes Jr. (Secretary General of BAYAN), and Representative Carlos Zarate (BAYAN MUNA Partylist) in addition to the arrest of Baylosis.

BAYAN USA and ICHRP then took their call to the streets outside of the Philippine Consulate, calling for the release of Baylosis and political prisoners saying “activism is not a crime.” The initial advocates who entered the Philippine Consulate were joined by other members of BAYAN USA and ICHRP. Solidarity allies also joined and spoke against human rights violations. Many spoke out against martial law, fascism, human rights violations, and supported the call for peace talks and the release of political prisoners. Speakers highlighted the solidarity between the Philippine liberation struggle and the black liberation struggle. Joined by NYC Shut It Down: The Grand Central Crew #blacklivesmatter, advocates then marched to Times Square to share to the broader Times Square public 5 facts about Baylosis’ arrest and the interconnectedness of liberation struggle and repression.

The U.S., under Trump, has given over 100 million dollars to support military operations in the Philippines. These tax dollars are used to fund the active martial law operations in Mindanao and military repression elsewhere in the country. Duterte has arrested at least 145 people for politically-motivated reasons, including six peace consultants, a Bishop, and other faith leaders, bringing the total to over 486 political prisoners under his administration.

Meanwhile, human rights advocates such as members of NYCHRP continue to call for the resumption of peace talks, to continue the negotiation on the Comprehensive Agreement for Socio Economic Reforms (CASER), to end martial law, and to end fascist impunity.

 

Free Rafael Baylosis and All Political Prisoners! Activism is not a crime! Never again to fascist dictatorship! Resume the Peace talks!

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Donate to send NYCHRP to the launching of the USA chapter of the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines!

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DONATE HERE: www.youcaring.com/nychrp2pdx

The NY Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP) seeks to join other human rights defenders for the official launching of the U.S. chapter of the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP). The ICHRP USA launch is set to take place on December 9, 2017, in Portland, Oregon, in commemoration of International Human Rights Day.

The main objectives of the ICHRP USA launch are to develop a mechanism for structure and coordination among members, and to launch a campaign to stop the killings in the Philippines and end U.S. military aid!

NYCHRP members, who are all volunteer, grassroots human rights activists, need your help to travel across the country for this momentous gathering!!!

We are raising $3000 in the next couple of weeks! The cost of roundtrip airfare from NYC to PDX is on average $350 each ticket. Six NYCHRP members have committed to attend the ICHRP USA launch! Thus, our expenses will amount to $2,100 on airfare alone! We are also budgeting costs of housing, food, and emergency expenses.

With only about a month away until the big event and airfare costs rising every day, your donation is critical to our participation in the ICHRP USA launch! Please consider supporting NYCHRP. Your donation will go a long way in support of the global solidarity movement to defend human rights in the Philippines!

In the Philippines, the Duterte government is becoming another despotic regime.  In a little over a year the drug war has resulted in over 12,000 extrajudicial killings.  Its war on terror has bombed all throughout Mindanao especially in Marawi, North Cotabato, Bukidnon, Davao del Sur, Davao del Norte, leaving at least 416,005 individuals displaced and 357,569 subjected to indiscriminate gunfire and aerial bombardment.

There is grave concern that martial law in Mindanao brings about even more human rights violations and abuses already targeting innocent civilians because of the state’s assumption that the rebels are among the evacuees. In the course of the Marawi siege, there were reported looting, illegal arrests, and other human rights violations. There are efforts to silence the mass media and public opinion and moves to dismantle the system of checks and balances.  Trumped-up cases are filed, critics and activists unjustly labelled as “enemies of the state” are arrested and detained.

In the economic sphere, life is not going to be better for the majority of the people who are poor. They will be hardest hit by the economic crisis that is expected to get worse. The socio-economic and political reforms that the Filipino people have long been clamouring for are not in sight. With the neoliberal economic policy already adopted by the government top economic team, it is clear that the Duterte policy is to preserve the economy which is dependent on the export of raw materials and cheap labor, import of manufactures, foreign investments, foreign loans to cover trade deficits and higher taxes and prices of basic commodities at the expense of the people.

More than ever, the broad masses of Filipino people need the solidarity and support of the peoples of the United States of America who, despite the continuing U.S. government’s foreign policy framework and methodology of “counter terrorism” over Philippine affairs that has for years been demonstrably dismissive of human rights, can choose to stand on the side of what is true, of what is right and just, with a suffering but struggling Filipino people.

For more information, please visit NYCHRP.info, Facebook.com/NYCHRP, or emailNYCHRP@gmail.com.

DONATE HERE: www.youcaring.com/nychrp2pdx

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STOP THE KILLINGS: Duterte’s War on Drugs Through the Lens of Raffy Lerma

NYCHRP Raffy Lerma Oct 23 Flyer

STOP THE KILLINGS
Duterte’s War on Drugs Through the Lens of Raffy Lerma

Join the NY Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP) for a special event highlighting photojournalist Raffy Lerma’s work that has captured harrowing scenes of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s War on Drugs. Lerma’s photos, featured by the NY Times and other mainstream media outlets, expose the Philippine government’s systemic violence against the country’s poor. Learn from Lerma and NYCHRP the realities of the War on Drugs and how the international human rights community can stand with its victims and the Filipino people who are resisting state repression.

October 23, 2016 at 6PM
Starr Bar – 214 Starr, Brooklyn, NY 11237

facebook.com/NYCHRP | NYCHRP@gmail.com | www.NYCHRP.info

www.raffylerma.com