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IADL AND OTHER ORGANIZATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCATES
EXPOSE HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE NETHERLANDS


By Coni Ledesma
International Committee DEFEND
12 June 08

We are deeply gratified and happy to learn that the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), together with other organizations of human rights advocates, adopted the common position of exposing the violation of human rights of Filipinos living in The Netherlands and defending said Filipinos, during the 8th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on 11 June 2008.

In representation of IADL, Atty. Edre U. Olalia, president of the International Association of People's Lawyers (IAPL), made an intervention in the course of the consideration of the report of the Working Group on the human rights record of The Netherlands. He exposed the oppressive actions undertaken by the Dutch government against the members, consultants and staffers of the panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) negotiating with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP).

He pointed out that the Dutch government and the GRP had collaborated in using false criminal charges against Prof. Jose Maria Sison, NDFP chief political consultant, as a pretext to arrest and detain him, raid the NDFP information office and the homes of the peace panelists, consultants and staffers of the NDFP and seize their computers, digital files, documents, bank accounts and many other things on 28 August 2007.

Olalia criticized the disparity between the pious pronouncements of the Dutch government about human rights and the continuing political persecution of Filipino political exiles, asylum seekers and refugees like Filipinos in the Netherlands who are in legitimate and democratic opposition to what they view as anti-people policies and programs of the Philippine government.

He called attention to the Gestapo-like simultaneous raids on the offices and residences in August last year of those associated with the NDFP negotiating panel. He described the NDFP as a national liberation movement, whose status is recognized under international law, and which has maintained an open international information office in the Netherlands for a long period of time, and is engaged in peace negotiations with the GRP.

Olalia protested, “How could arbitrary and indiscriminate carting away of an immense amount of materials, including the records and related study materials of peace negotiations since 1986 as well as complaints, evidence and files of the Joint Monitoring Committee, a body designed to monitor compliance with a bilateral agreement on human rights and international humanitarian law be justified?”

He pointed out that the Netherlands government gave credence to false information provided by the Philippine government, particularly from a body called the Inter-Agency Legal Action Group, which the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions Prof. Philip Alston recommended to be abolished.

Olalia averred that peace advocates are concerned that the false criminal charges have paralyzed the said peace negotiations. He demanded that the Dutch government show respect for human rights by doing away with persecution through false or politically-motivated charges in order to strengthen the rule of law and promote the implementation of agreements between the GRP and the NDFP, such as the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL). He called for the resumption of the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations in order to pave the way for the end of the armed conflict in the Philippines and lay the ground for human rights to thrive.

He called attention to the Dutch government's lack of respect for human rights by subjecting Prof. Sison to arbitrary arrest and continuing political persecution, labeling and legal harassment. He pointed out that the Filipino professor had lived peacefully in exile in the Netherlands and followed its laws for more than 20 years.

Olalia decried the fact that Prof. Sison had been hounded by false criminal allegations to deny him political asylum and residence, bar him from employment, deprive him of social benefits, freeze his bank accounts, stigmatize him and circumvent the legal protection afforded to him by Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Olalia challenged the UN Human Rights Council to react or respond to reports that Dutch and Philippine government authorities at the highest level have a long-running scheme to “oppress and criminalize” Prof. Sison by subjecting him to such false charges and to an endless politically-motivated criminal investigation by the Dutch State.

The oppressive policy of the Dutch government towards Prof. Sison does not cease despite the series of decisions of the Hague District Court on 13 September 2007, The Hague Court of Appeal on 2 October 2007, and the examining judge on 21 November 2007 that there is no prima facie evidence against him. The latest decision of the Hague District Court on 5 June 2008 declares that up to now there is no incriminating evidence against him.

Olalia stressed that persecution through false charges is a major form of human rights violation. The falsely accused is subjected to detention, humiliation, stigmatization, unnecessary expense of efforts and resources, loss of income and opportunities and public incitement of violence against his person and reputation.

He protested, “In this regard, how can the Dutch government guarantee that in the sphere of criminal investigation, prosecution and judicial decision-making, political interests are subservient to the supposed rule of law in the Netherlands so that the human rights of individuals who exercise their basic freedom of thought and expression are promoted and protected?”

He demanded that satisfactory answers be made to the questions he raised. He said, “Without satisfactory answers, we are afraid that other individuals and organizations in the Netherlands will suffer the same fate in contravention of the basic international instruments to which the Netherlands has committed itself.” He asked the UN Human Rights Council to consider his comments when it decides to adopt the outcome of the review in plenary and to include them in the report of the Council’s session.”###

Please contact:

For reference please contact:
Coni Ledesma
International Committee DEFEND
Email: defenddemrights@yahoo.com
Telephone: 00-31-30-8895306




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