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Dutch Government Liable for Violating Sison’s Rights as
Legitimate Political Refugee in The Netherlands

International Association of Peoples’ Lawyers
6 September 2007

The International Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL) believes that the Dutch government can be held liable for violating the rights of Prof. Jose Maria Sison, the founding chair of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), if there were truth to reports that the chief political consultant of the Peace Negotiating Panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) is being subjected to maltreatment and other forms of extreme psychological pressures by Dutch authorities when he was arrested recently and detained up to now.

The Dutch government can be held liable for violating the rights of Prof. Sison as a political refugee under the Refugee Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights, as well as for violating the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and other related instruments and conventions.

It should also be put to task for violating the rights of the other members of the NDFP Panel and their staff when the Dutch police ransacked their offices and houses, confiscated through a fishing expedition everything that are not even remotely related to the charge against Sison, interrogated them under hostile and dubious circumstances indicating legal shortcuts characteristic of repressive measures under the so-called war on terror.

We received reports that Prof. Sison was denied his prescription medicines to his cell and contacts from immediate families, supporters and access to any media. He was virtually incommunicado except for the very restricted contact with only one of his lawyers. This kind of solitary confinement is tantamount to extreme torture and all-out violations of Sison’s rights.

Our information is that Prof. Sison was declared a political refugee by the Council of State, the highest administrative court in The Netherlands in 1992. It had criticized the Dutch Ministry of Justice for using secret intelligence dossiers against Sison. In 1995, The Council of State reaffirmed the decision that he is a political refugee under Article 1-A of the Refugee Convention and that he is under the protection of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights after having found out that there was no sufficient evidence against Sison for crimes that would exclude him therefor.

We also note that the Court of First Instance of the European Court of Justice on July 11, 2007 annulled the decision of the Council of European Union placing Prof. Sison on the terrorist list and freezing his financial assets. The Court pointed out the violation of his basic rights by the Dutch and EU authorities.

We remain concerned that the rights of the likes of Sison, other Filipino patriots and those from other countries seeking political refuge are being continuously violated in furtherance of an increasingly repressive and intolerant Dutch government towards asylum seekers, refugees and even migrants from all over the world which runs counter to the admired liberalism and humanitarian spirit of the Dutch people.

Based on the actuations, public statements and unusual interest of the US and Philippine governments on the case, it is very clear that the legal action being taken against Prof. Sison is not a simple criminal procedure as the political arms of Dutch government wishes the public to believe. There are very obvious political motives behind it.

We are worried that the Dutch authorities, in open cahoots with the Philippine government, and as applauded by the US government, would ignore the valid defenses of Prof. Sison, disregard the Philippine Supreme Court ruling effectively dismissing the present charges against Sison and other critics of the Arroyo administration and irrevocably jeopardize any prospects for meaningful negotiations for a just and lasting peace.

The European Union is legally, politically and morally obliged to admonish the Dutch government for violating the human rights of Prof. Sison and other Filipino patriots and for violating international human rights laws and other European protocols and conventions governing the rights and protection of political refugees.

We shall continue to closely monitor the case against Prof. Sison in the Netherlands, support and assist in the appropriate way the legal moves in defense and assertion of his rights, and campaign and coordinate with Philippine and international lawyers’ groups all over the world to expose and oppose what from all indications is essentially a political persecution. #

6 September 2007.


Edre U. Olalia, President 63-9279519347

The IAPL is an anti-imperialist organization of human rights lawyers, law students and legal workers from various countries especially where imperialist exploitation are most severe, human rights violations are most widespread and the peoples’ struggles are most intense.

It has members coming from Afghanistan, Brazil, Belgium, India, Nepal, Philippines, the Netherlands, and Turkey and has observers or has established solidarity linkages with lawyers from Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Colombia, Congo, Cuba, Japan, Germany, Greece, Mexico, South Korea, North Korea, Spain, United Kingdom and The United States.

IAPL Board of Governors:

Pellisery Sebastian, Chairperson (India)
Edre U. Olalia, President (Philippines)
Julio Moreira, Vice President (Brazil)
Rafael Jespers, Secretary General (Belgium)
Dundar Gurses, Treasurer (Netherlands)
Hakan Karakus, Auditor (Turkey)
Rateb Faquiri, Member (Afghanistan)

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