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DEFEND SISON CAMPAIGN

 
 

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Oppose the unjust "terrorist" labelling of Prof. Jose Maria Sison! Uphold fundamental human rights!

For immediate release: November 19, 2004

As overseas Filipinos in Canada, we are very concerned about the outcome of the case of Professor Jose Maria Sison -- a Filipino revolutionary and patriot -- against the Council of the European Union held at the Luxembourg Court of Justice (First Instance) last November 17, 2004. This case has critical bearing for the progressive movement in the Philippines and to us as overseas Filipinos.

At this case, Professor Sison appealed the decision of the Council of EU to deny access to the documents used to justify his listing as a "terrorist." Professor Sison's case against the decision of the Council of the EU to put him on the "terrorist" list is still to be scheduled later.

Being added to "terrorist" lists of the EU, U.S., Dutch and Canadian governments in 2002, has constituted a grave threat to Prof. Sison's life and security. The unjust label violates his fundamental human rights including the right to legal defense and the right to a due process and treatment. Sison's appeal is of great significance in the era of abusive "anti-terrorist" laws and policies.

Three times, Sison requested access to whatever documents are being used by the Council in their decision to put him on the terrorist list, but was denied each time. His appeal is significant. If he is denied the right to see documents aboiut his case, it is little different than during the dark period of the Inquisition when the accused had to defend themselves without knowing the accusations against them and without any access to information used against them.

In May 2004, an international conference was held in Montreal, Canada to discuss Sison's legal case and its human rights implications. The over 150 conference delegates united in demanding that Prof. Sison as well as the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People's Army (NPA) - which are also listed on Canada's suppression of terrorism list be immediately and unconditionally removed from these lists.

Far from being a terrorist, we know Sison as a noted Filipino author, poet and revolutionary leader. He was a resistance fighter against the Marcos regime and led the underground resistance movement as founding chair of the CPP. He was a prominent political prisoner for almost nine years and subjected to cruel and inhumane torture under the Marcos dictatorship. He currently lives in exile in the Netherlands.

Prof. Sison is also the Chief Political Consultant for the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Peace Negotiating Panel which has been negotiating peace talks with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP). We see the unjust labelling of Sison and of the CPP-NPA as a form of direct intervention of the U.S in the Philippines. The U.S. is determined to thwart the peace process in the Philippines and suppress genuine anti-imperialist and national liberation movements worlwide under the guise of "anti-terrorism."

As a test case in the era of post 9-11 draconian "anti-terrorist" laws, we call on the European Court to uphold fundamental basic rights to due process and legal defense for Prof. Sison and all other accused "terrorists." We also reiterate our demand for the EU, U.S., Dutch and Canadian governments to immediately de-list Prof. Sison and the CPP-NPA as "terrorist." We call on these governments to uphold efforts aimed at creating a genuine, just and lasting peace in the Philippines and around the world.

Signed:

Vancouver
* B.C. Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines
* Filipino Nurses Support Group
* Grassroots Women - Vancouver
* Philippine Women Centre of B.C.
* Sulong, Itaguyod ang Karapatan ng mga Manggagawa sa Labas ng Bansa
(SIKLAB - Overseas Filipino workers' organization)
* Ugnayan ng Kabataang Pilipino sa Canada / Filipino-Canadian Youth
Alliance

Ottawa
* Carleton University Filipino Students Association
* Ontario Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines
* Philippine Migrante sa Canada

Toronto
* Philippine Women Centre of Ontario
* Filipino Workers Support Committee
* Philippine Solidarity Group

Montreal
* Kabataang Montreal
* PINAY (Filipino Workers Support Committee)
* Centre for Philippine Concerns - Montreal
* Filipino Workers Support Group

Winnipeg
* Manitoba Centre for Philippine Concerns
* Philippine Women Centre - Manitoba

Nationally
* National Alliance of Philippine Women in Canada


For more information, please contact: Ted Alcuitas, B.C. Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines, ph: 604-215-1905, e-mail: bcchrp2@telus.net
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