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10 Highlights in Human Rights for 2014

Happy New Year, Philippines!

For a second time, here are 10 highlights in the field of human rights in the Philippines for the year that just passed:

1. In February, the Philippine Supreme Court rendered a split decision on the constitutionality of the Cybercrimes Prevention Act. Critics of the law argued that its provisions on libel and cybersex were overboard and could infringe on freedom of expression. The Supreme Court disagreed and ruled that defamation and obscenity were traditional limitations on freedom of speech. Despite this set-back, libertarians rejoiced because the court declared as unconstitutional the provisions that could otherwise have subjected libel to double jeopardy and real time gathering of information which the court said should be pursuant to a judicial warrant.

2. In April, the Supreme Court upheld by and large the Reproductive Heath Law. This law promotes the right to health of both women and their children, as well as implements the right to privacy and responsible parenthood. A big win for Human Rights!

3. From May 12 to November 10, the Human Rights Claims Board, a body created by law to pay reparation to victims of human rights abuses during the Marcos dictatorship, accepted claims from victims of the dictatorship. While not all victims were able to submit the claim, the fact that the Board was created by law and accepted some claims for reparation is significant as a way of implementing the state’s obligation to make reparations to victims of human rights violations.

4. In August, the Supreme Court dismissed with finality the prayer of Filipino women raped by Japanese soldiers during World War II to compel the Philippine government to espouse their claim for reparations in international tribunals. Ruling that the President as chief architect of foreign policy cannot be compelled to espouse the comfort women’s claims, the Court made legal history and made the Philippines the only state in the world that does not recognize the duty of war criminals to make reparations to their victims. The main decision could also be read to mean that the Philippines is the only country on earth that does not consider rape as criminal in times of armed conflicts. This decision is perhaps the biggest blow to human rights for the year.

5. The Supreme Court’s decision to declare as unconstitutional both the PDAF and the DAP were major victories on the fight to promote Economic, Social and Cultural rights. This is because by declaring pork barrel in all forms as unconstitutional, the Court in effect ruled that public coffers should be spent to benefit the people economically and not to enrich our politicians. A truly great victory for human rights!

6. The murder of Jennifer Laude said to have been perpetrated by Joseph Scott Pemberton not only highlighted yet another violation of the right to life. It also highlighted the country’s fight for genuine independence pursuant to the internationally recognized right to self-determination. For the first time, the internet generation learned why the presence of foreign troops offends our national sovereignty. This is because when GIs commit common crimes, they’re given special treatment since they will remain the custody of their fellow Americans in an air-conditioned jail and not in a local jail which has been described by the UN Human Rights Committee in one of its View as being “torturous”.

7. Deputy presidential bad mouth Abi Valte called attention again to her gross ignorance of human rights law when she reiterated, ironically, by way of commemorating the 5th year of the Maguindanao massacre, that the P Noy administration will not pay compensation to the victims of the massacre since the current administration had no hand on the massacre. Will someone please teach this woman the basics of state responsibility or better yet, tell her to shut up on matters she’s clueless about!

8. In any case, the fact that the murder cases for the Maguindanao massacre are proceeding at a snails pace is proof that the Philippines is not just in breach of the duty to pay compensation to victims of human rights violations; it is also proof that it is in breach of its duty to the victims to accord them also an adequate domestic remedy.

9. The murders of journalists Rubylita Garcia, Nilo Baculo, Samuel Oliverio, and Richard Nadjid in 2014 are proof that the Philippines remains amongst the most murderous countries fro journalists. Already the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines has recorded at least 217 media killings since 1986. The killing of journalists is not just a violation of the right to life. It also infringes on freedom of the press, as murder is the most pernicious and permanent form of censorship.

10. In a UN conference on the safety of journalists sponsored by the European Council and UNESCO, last November in Strasburg, Germany, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima admitted that the country’s conviction rate for extralegal killings remains at a measly 1%. This is why impunity persists in the country.

Keep safe and do not be a victim this 2015!

(Disclosure: the author acted as counsel for either the petitioners or the victims in almost all of the cases cited in this column)

Reaction to AFP's ACTUAL ( not just the threat) filing of Disbarment Complaint against me

Ref: Prof Harry Roque 09175398096 (Viber until 11 November) The AFP’s filing of disbarment charges against me today is anti-climactic to their repeated threats that they would do so for the past ten days. I welcome it and will answer it in due course. I hope that with its filing, the AFP can now concentrate on running after the Abu Sayaff and defending our territory in the West Philippine Sea. I am flattered that the AFP gave me so much attention in the midst of the many concerns that it faces. As I have previously stated, I will also file graft and administrative charges against the AFP for allowing Pemberton to remain in US custody in Aguinaldo. This is contrary to Philippine sovereignty and hence, a breach of the oath of allegiance that the AFP took. This is also dereliction of duty. I will also hold the AFP liable for contempt since to publicly announce the filing of disbarment against an officer of the court is to ridicule the administration of justice in this country. All such proceeding are supposed to be confidential. I assure the public that I will not be cowed by the AFP. I will continue to fight for my client’s interests with even more zeal knowing that Philippine state agents have sided with foreign interests. I will also continue to assert Philippine sovereignty. This is my duty as a member of the Bar and as a Filipino. My promise: I shall return to Aguinaldo should there be a need for me to personally take custody of Pemberton in order to turn him over to Philippine authorities less subservient to the United States. I will file all my complaints against the AFP as soon as I return from Europe where I am attending a Council of Europe and UNESCO meetings on the killing of journalists. Ironically, experts have identified the AFP as amongst the perpetrators of killings against our journalists

Malaysian Courts on Trial: The case of Anwar Ibrahim

I have been a trial observer in Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy trials since 1999. In fact, I have only missed to observe his trial once -that was when the Malaysian Court of Appeals overturned the High Court’s previous decision acquitting him from all charges. I made it a point hence to observe oral arguments in Ibrahim’s […] More →

In memory of Jennifer: Junk Vfa

I am in Olongapo City standing as lawyer for the Laude family in connection with the gruesome murder of Jennifer. To set the record straight, I “did not volunteer” my services to the family. A couple of months back, we had a training here in Subic jointly sponsored by the American Bar Association and the […] More →

My Lolo and martial law

By Atty. Harry Roque Jr. | Sep. 25, 2014 at 12:01am 3 I was too young to be an activist during martial law. I was fortunate though to have been raised in a family whose religious convictions include that of taking a stand for the poor and oppressed. This is why even if I did […] More →

P Noy: Why have thou forsaken us?

I wondered what P Noy would say in this year’s SONA about the Maguindanao massacre and other cases of extralegal killings in the country. Since becoming President, he has consistently said something about this malaise. This may be because when he still seeking the people’s mandate, he sought an audience with our clients and promised […] More →

Joinder of issues on the RH Law

As expected, the pro-lifers stuck to their mantra in their challenge to the RH law. They cited that since the constitutional drafters contemplated “fertilization” as the beginning of life, the RH law, insofar as it mandates the widespread use of the pills and IUD’s, which according to them prevent the implantation of the fertilized zygote […] More →

AMPATUAN VICTIMS TO SEEK REDRESS WITH UN COMMITTEE ON HUMAN RIGHTS. 14 Victims signed authority to negotiate a settlement with Ampatuans

On the occasion of the 43rd month commemoration of the Ampatuan massacre, Prof. Harry Roque, Chairman of the Center for International Law and Private Prosecutor of 17 media victims of the massacre, announced that their clients will resort to a filing of a communication with the United Nations Human Rights Committee for the Philippine government’s […] More →

Big Brother Spying

imagesAmericans were enraged when whistleblower Edward Snowden declared that the government was spying on them. According to the whistleblower, he was one of those whose job was to eavesdrop on phone conversations and access email communication without court authorization. This was shocking to the public because of well-established US jurisprudence that protects the people’s right to privacy of their communication.

Applying by analogy rules on when police authorities may stop individuals for the purpose of frisking them, the rule has only been that there has to be good suspicion at the very least; if not actual knowledge of the commission of a crime on the part of the police before they could intrude on a person’s private zone. Applied to communication on the telephone and on the Internet, authorities similarly could not access communication without suspicion or actual knowledge of commission of a crime, or when so authorized by a Judge.

Apparently, the US National Security Agency has been spying on the American people for quite some time already. And what is even more bothersome is that telecommunication companies, those who the people thought would be zealously guarding their privacy, have been voluntarily supplying the Federal government with real time date information . It would seem that these companies may have gone beyond identifying the existence of mail intended for an addressee. They may  also have been providing access to the actual communication themselves and not just to data logs, the latter being the  electronic counterpart of an envelope in snail mail

It would appear hence that what our own 20102 Cyber crimes Prevention Law seeks to achieve in its section 12, the real time gathering of data information, has been on-going in the United States for quite some time already. The good news is while the American Civil liberties Union only challenged this invasion of data privacy very recently, we in this country impugned this section of the Cyber crimes law at least 8 months before our American counterparts did. This is a rare instance when Philippine jurisprudence could influence the manner by which American courts decide on a constitutional issue.

The pertinent provision of the Philippines law reads: “SEC. 12. Real-Time Collection of Traffic Data. — Law enforcement authorities, with due cause, shall be authorized to collect or record by technical or electronic means traffic data in real-time associated with specified communications transmitted by means of a computer system”.

Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza pleaded that if there was one provision in the law that should be upheld, it should be this one. According to him: “it is an investigative tool that makes tracing, tracking and arresting hackers more efficient”.

The Sol-Gen explained “since hackers are faceless, the real-time collection of traffic data would enable law enforcers to locate and identify them through their IP or Internet Protocol address”.

Earlier, my colleague in UP Law, Jay-Jay Disini argued that access to these data log should require court authorization. He claimed that the people have an expectation of privacy on matters stated in our phone bill which includes the number called and when the call was made. He argued that like in everyday life,  these information should remain private unless police authorities have at the very least suspicions of  wrong doings.

Either way, the Philippine law appears to be an improvement because it will allow data gathering only where there is “due cause”. But as the Justices observed, without a definition of what this “due cause“ is, only the executive could define it and the definition may be all encompassing.

Meanwhile, in the United States, ACLU alleged that the eavesdropping is likely to have a “chilling effect” on those who want to contact them for redress of violations of their rights. They alleged that this policy of eavesdropping violates both the First and the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution , or the rights to freedom of expression and freedom from unreasonable search and seizures.

Both Filipinos and Americans are eagerly awaiting our respective Supreme Court decision on this very important constitutional challenge. Meanwhile tough the Obama administration, not unlike Sol-Gen Jardeleza, has justified the policy as having successfully curtailed terrorist attacks in the United States. With this kind of defense, expect governments to continue their snooping despite intense public opposition thereto.

George Orwell was right after all.

27 Filipinos Petition UN vs. Massive Human Rights Abuses in Sabah

  Last Monday afternoon, 27 concerned Filipino citizens, who are part of civil society organizations (CSO), filed separate communications before two United Nations agencies. A ‘communication’ is a petition before an international body. They urged these two UN agencies to investigate the massive and gross human rights abuses committed on Filipinos in Sabah by Malaysian […] More →

Communication to the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights

Ms. Navanethem Pillay

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
OHCHR- Palais Wilson
United Nations Office at Geneva
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

 

 

Manila, 21 March 2013

 

 

Urgent appeal in relation to the massive and gross human rights violations committed against Filipinos in Sabah by Malaysian state agents

 

 

Dear Ms. Pillay,

 

We respectfully submit that you consider this urgent appeal in relation to the massive and gross human rights violations committed against Filipinos in Sabah by Malaysian state agents. We request that you urgently intervene so that Malaysia will respect the human rights of the Filipinos in Sabah, recognized under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

 

 

I.             Background of the gross human rights violation against Filipinos in Sabah

 

1)             On 14 February 2013, suspected Filipino gunmen numbering between 80 to 100 were cornered in the Malaysian state of Sabah on Borneo island triggering the start of the Sabah standoff.[1]

2)             On 15 February 2013, the unidentified group of men introduced itself as the Royal Sulu Army reviving the longstanding claim of Sabah by the Sultanate of Sulu.[2]

3)             On 16 February 2013, Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, stated that the renewed claim on Sabah by the Royal Sulu Army is not sanctioned by the Philippine government.[3]

 

4)             On 20 February 2013, Malaysian Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said that Malaysian security forces are in control of the Sabah standoff and warned the Sulu Royal Army of the consequences if they refuse to surrender.[4]

 

5)             On 23 February 2013 (Saturday), Malaysia adopts a “wait-and-see” approach against the Royal Sulu Army which holed up in Sabah.[5]

 

6)             On 23 February 2013, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) informed Malaysia that a ship on humanitarian mission, carrying social workers and personnel, would be dispatched to Lahad Datu to “fetch and ferry back the women and other civilians among the 180-member group who are holed out in Lahad Datu.”[6] According to Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario “We sent the ship to Lahad Datu on a humanitarian mission. We are deeply concerned about the presence of five women and other civilians in the group, and we urge them to board the ship without delay and return home.”[7]

 

7)             On 01 March 2013, violence erupted on the 17th day of the Sabah standoff with a shoot-out after Malaysian security forces attempted to tighten a cordon around the Royal Sulu Army.[8] Twelve Filipinos and two Malaysian police officers were reportedly killed during the exchange of gunfire.[9] On the other hand, 10 followers of Kiram reportedly surrendered while others went to the sea to escape.[10]

 

8)             On 02 March 2013, more bloodshed occurred with 6 Filipinos and 6 Malaysian police officers being killed in an ambush set by the Royal Sulu Army. [11]

 

9)             On 03 March 2013, Malaysian cops stated that three areas where firefights occurred were now under Malaysian control while a man linked to the earlier ambush was beaten to death after he tried to hostage civilians. [12]

10)          Mopping operations of some 300 homes in the village ended at 6:30 in the evening. On the other hand, Kiram’s camp claims to have captured at least four Malaysian officials including a police officer, two military officials and a local government official after the clash on Saturday. [13]

 

11)          On 04 March 2013, Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Del Rosario flew to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to appeal for maximum tolerance. Secretary del Rosario also took the opportunity to personally convey the Philippine Government’s request for clearance for a Philippine Navy ship to proceed to Lahad Datu, Sabah to enable the Philippine medical personnel aboard to provide humanitarian and consular assistance and provide medical care to the wounded and ferry them and the remaining members of the group back to their respective homes and families.[14]

 

 

II. Allegations of massive and gross human rights violation committed against the Filipinos in Sabah

12)          On 08 March 2013, night time, Amira Taradji, (a Filipina) arrived in Patikul, Sulu, Philippines with about 200 other refugees.[15]

 

13)          Taradji was originally from Davao City, Philippines, and was among some 400 people who have arrived in Sulu, Philippines from Lahad Datu, Semporna, Tawau and Kunak all from Sabah, Malaysia.[16]

 

14)          Taradji said she and her family sailed from Sandakan to nearby islands … “from one island to another—until we reached a small island where we took a kumpit for the Philippines.” [17]

 

15)          Taradji and her family lived in Sabah for the past 26 years. Though she and her family were MyKad (Malaysian identity cards) holders in Sabah, Malaysia, they abandoned their home when the police raids started on Monday night claiming that the police were ruthless.

 

16)          Taradji said that Malaysian policemen had ordered Filipino men to run as fast as they could and then opened fire on them.[18]

 

17)          Taradji further claimed that among those killed that way on Monday night, during a “zoning operation” by police in a Filipino community in Sandakan was her brother, Jumadil.[19]

 

18)          Taradji further added that the constant raids by Malaysian security forces was harrowing and said Filipinos she encountered before leaving Sabah said they too had witnessed Filipino men being rounded up in Tawau and Kunak. [20]

 

19)          Taradji added that some of the arrested men, who tried to dissuade the police from arresting them by waving immigration documents, were killed just the same for trying to evade the raiders.[21]

 

20)          Taradji further said that, “Even if you have valid immigration document, you will not be spared. If you are lucky to reach the jail, you will die of starvation because they will not feed you,” adding she has lived in Sandakan since she was a child.[22]

 

21)           Another of those who made it back to the Philippines, Carla Manlaw, 47, said it was fear of the Malaysian policemen following stories of the abuse and killings that prompted her and other Filipinos to sail to Bongao in Tawi-Tawi.[23]

 

22)          Manlaw and 99 others, including children and the elderly, arrived in Philippines waters aboard two motorboats after sailing for about two hours from Sandakan. They were intercepted and escorted by a Philippine Navy ship until they reached Bongao late Friday, 08 March 2013. [24]

 

23)          She said that while her employer in Sandakan had no problem with employing her, she was scared of the police and “what they will do to us.” [25]

 

24)          When Manlaw heard that a vessel was returning to Bongao from Sandakan, she immediately grabbed her things and boarded it.[26]

 

25)          Also on 08 March 2013, late Friday night, Mayor Hussin Amin of Jolo, Sulu, Philippines, said the accounts of Filipinos fleeing police abuse in Sabah were “alarming and disturbing” and the Philippine government should look into it.[27]

 

26)          He said he had spoken with many refugees and their stories were the same:  Malaysian soldiers and policemen do not distinguish between illegal immigrants and MyKad holders. [28]

 

27)          “Soldiers and policemen stormed their houses and even those with legitimate working papers like passports and IC papers were not spared. These documents were allegedly torn before their eyes. Men were told to run and were shot if they did. Those who refused were beaten black and blue. Filipinos in jail were executed,” Mayor Amin said by phone late Friday.[29]

 

28)          “We are asking our government to investigate now. Refugees from Sandakan and Sabah had spoken to us about their ordeals. If indeed what they have been telling us is true, then Malaysian authorities are not just targeting the Kirams in Lahad Datu,” Mayor Amin said.[30]

 

29)          Mayor Amin said that for now, he tended to believe the stories told by the refugees that Filipino men, especially Tausug, were being killed in the streets and in detention centers in Malaysia.[31] “Our people are treated like animals there and this has to stop because they are no longer hitting the Kirams,” Amin said.[32]

 

30)          He said one reason why he believed the stories was his observation that children and women were so “deeply traumatized” that they tried to flee when they saw Filipino policemen as they arrived in Jolo. [33] “Some (of them) even attempted to jump to the sea, thinking they were still in Malaysia,” he said, referring to scenes at the Jolo port this week. [34] “I spoke to them and gave them assurance that they were all home and no one would harm them now and the policemen securing the port were not Malaysians but Filipinos protecting them,” Amin said. [35]

 

31)          On 10 March 2013, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) issued a press statement on the reported violation of human rights of Filipinos in Sabah, which states:

 

DFA Statement on the Reported Violation of Human Rights of Filipinos in Sabah

Sunday, 10 March 2013 17:05

10 March 2013

 

The Department of Foreign Affairs views with grave concern the alleged rounding up of community members of Suluk/Tausug descent in Lahad Datu and other areas in Sabah and the alleged violations of human rights reported in the media by some Filipinos who arrived in Sulu and Tawi-Tawi from Sabah.

 

The Department is coordinating with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and other relevant agencies to document these reports so that appropriate actions could be taken.

 

The Department urges the Malaysian government to take steps to clarify these alleged incidents.

 

The Department continues to call on the Malaysian Government to give our Philippine Embassy officials and the Philippine humanitarian/consular team dispatched to Lahad Datu and nearby areas full access to the Filipinos being held “in several locations in Sabah but outside the ‘Ops Daulat’ area,” as announced by the Malaysian Inspector General of the Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar on 08 March 2013, to enable them to fulfill their mission which is to provide humanitarian and consular assistance to Filipinos who have been affected by the incident.

 

We reiterate our call on the Malaysian Government to give humane treatment to the Filipinos under their custody.

 

The allegations are alarming and should be properly and immediately addressed by concerned authorities. END[36]

32)          On 11 March 2013, the chair of the Regional Human Rights Commission of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (RHRC-ARMM) appealed for an end to violence in Sabah and to peacefully resolve the issue as reports of alleged human rights violations of Filipinos there were “very alarming.”[37]

 

33)                         “Grabe, grabe ang mga nakita nila” (What they witnessed was very disturbing), Laisa Masuhud Alamia, chair of the month-old RHRC, said of the accounts of Filipinos who arrived in Sulu from Sabah on Thursday and Friday (07-08 March 2013). [38]

34)                         Alamia said in a telephone interview that based on the accounts of those who fled Sabah, several Filipinos, particularly Tausugs or Suluks as they are known in Sabah, were shot, arrested and tortured and that the victims were not members of  the “Royal Security Forces of Sulu and North Borneo” but civilians. [39]

 

35)                         As of noon of 11 March 2013, the RHRC has recorded a total of 1,191paguys who arrived — 767 in Tawi-Tawi and 424 in Sulu — on board nine boats from Sabah beginning March 6, a day after Malaysia launched aerial and ground attacks to signal the start of “Ops Daulat” to flush out of Lahad Datu in Sabah the “Royal Security Forces” of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III. [40]

 

36)          Altogether, 1,479 Filipinos had arrived from Sabah since March 2, of whom 288 were through organized deportation and 1,191 through self-deportation.[41]

 

37)          Alamia said some of the paguys are “self deportees,” among them farmworkers at oil palm plantations there who have no ICs and who immediately boarded the boat upon learning of the crackdown.[42]

 

38)          An IC is an Identity Card issued to Malaysian citizens and permanent residents for identification, indexing and tracking purposes.[43]

39)          But Alamia reported that some paguys informed them that even those with ICs or passports were not spared, that “when they’re caught, their ICs or passports were torn or destroyed by the Malaysian authorities and they were beaten.”[44]

 

40)          She noted that a number of the paguys “exhibited reluctance to be interviewed” by DSWD workers providing assistance to them, immediately leaving with their relatives after receiving assistance.[45]

 

41)          She said they learned that they were “afraid that Philippine authorities would arrest them.” [46]

 

42)          “Apparently they were referring to pronouncements that members of the Kiram group would be arrested when they come back. They thought this also applies to them,” Alamia said. [47]

 

 

43)          She appealed to all parties involved to end the violence and begin the peaceful resolution of the issue, and called on the Malaysian government to  “allow the entry into Sabah of the Philippine humanitarian contingent to provide relief to the Filipinos trapped there and to allow them to be brought back to the country.” [48]

 

44)          On 17 March 2013, it was reported that Filipinos, who had fled Sabah in the aftermath of the armed intrusion there by the Sulu “royal army,” had learned to endure the pains of being violently beaten by Malaysian security forces during crackdowns on suspected Sabah-based supporters of the sultanate’s men just to stay alive, survivors had claimed.[49]

 

45)          Ibrahim Alih, 38-year old Sama native from Zamboanga City, told the INQUIRER that “I did not run when they ordered me to run because I know they will shoot me. What I did was to bear the pain when they hit me,” as he was being processed by government agencies before sending him home. [50]

 

46)          Alih, who was rounded up for failing to present immigration documents during Monday last week’s sweep on his neighborhood in Sandakan, said he did not care even if blood was already coming out of his wounds because he knew it was safer for him to just submit to the beating. [51]

 

47)          When he noticed that the Malaysian forces appeared to be hell bent on beating him to death, Alih said he shouted: “I’m not a Tausug, I’m a Sama Badjao.” [52]

 

48)          Upon hearing this, the Malaysian forces allegedly stopped from hurting him but they still frisked him and took the RM700 he earned from being a carpenter in Sabah for the past four months. [53]

 

49)          He was then allowed to board ML Fatima Editha – along with hundreds of other Filipinos trying to find a space on the crammed boat – for Tawi-Tawi province.[54]

 

50)          Alih said he wished he had not been illegally working in Sabah because a valid document might have saved him from harm.[55] “I don’t even have a passport,” he lamented.[56]

 

51)          Twenty-year old Sherilyn Viado, who worked in a construction company in Sabah, said she too had to assert her ethnicity when Malaysian policemen prepared to gang up on her.[57]

 

52)          “I told them that I’m not a Tausug but a Badjao,” she said, adding that Malaysian security forces were singling out people from Sulu or Sabahans known as Suluk (people who originated from Sulu).[58]

 

53)          “If you’re a Tausug, you will surely land in jail even if you had valid papers,” Viado, a native of Zamboanga del Sur, said. [59]

 

54)          Viado said Malaysian forces were so angry at Tausugs and Suluks that they do not put distinction between males and females anymore.[60]

 

55)          “We saw on TV how they beat Tausugs, including women,” she claimed.

Viado said Tausugs or Suluks who had disappeared from her neighborhood had not resurfaced since their arrest “and the lack of information on their fate had sowed unimaginable degree of fear on us.”[61]

 

56)          Annang Im, 50, who tended a small sidewalk store in Sandakan, said she did not experience being abused but she saw how male Filipinos caught up during the sweeps had been made to physically suffer by Malaysian policemen.[62]

 

57)          Im, a Tausug-Visaya, also confirmed Viado’s claim that Malaysian security forces hated Tausugs and Suluks so much that they did not care even if suspects were killed during the sweeps.[63] “It is because of what the Kirams did in Lahad Datu,” she said.[64]

 

58)          Malaysian Attorney General Abdul Gani Patail announced in a statement that an investigation into the reported abuses has started and those complaining of such excesses will be assisted by the Malaysian Bar and the Sabah Law Association. [65]

 

 

III.             Request for urgent action

 

The Filipinos in Sabah, Malaysia, have been subjected to massive and gross human rights abuses by Malaysian state agents, in violation of the UDHR. The rights of these Filipinos in Sabah violated by Malaysian state agents include, but are not limited, to the following:

 

(a)  right against any discrimination under Articles 2 and 7 UDHR;

(b)  right to life, liberty and security of person under Article 3 UDHR;

(c)   right not to be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment under Article 5 UDHR;

(d)  right against arbitrary arrest, detention or exile under Article 9 UDHR; and

(e)  right to a fair trial under Article 10 UDHR.

 

 

Accordingly, we appeal to your Office to:

 

  • urgently intervene and investigate the massive and gross human rights violations committed by Malaysian state agents against Filipinos in Sabah;

 

  • to express grave concern on the massive and gross human rights violations committed by Malaysia against Filipinos in Sabah;

 

  • to remind Malaysia that it provide effective remedies and compensation to the Filipino victims of the massive and gross human rights violations committed against them in Sabah by Malaysian state agents.

 

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or if we can provide you with any additional information you may need.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

H. Harry L. Roque, Jr.

 

 

 

E. hroque@roquebutuyan.com

T. +632.8873894

 

 


[1] http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/298166/news/nation/timeline-of-the-sabah-crisis