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English translation of the letter of Pastor (Dominee) HANS VISSER

Mailing address: Hang 7, 3011 GG ROTTERDAM Tel 010 - 466 67 22
Visiting address: Mauritsweg 20, Rotterdam Email:
Rotterdam, 29 May 2007

To whom it may concern:
Rotterdam, 29 May 2007                                             239/HV/as

Dear ladies and gentlemen,

The Council of the European Union will decide in June whether to keep Mr. Jose Maria Sison on the terrorist list of the European Union or not. On 23 April, the European Union gave an explanation for putting Jose Maria Sison on the aforesaid list, on the basis of which the Council has the intention of keeping Sison on that list. Sison wonders: "Why does the Council of the European Union write a letter where it blatantly repeats false allegations which have been answered comprehensively before the European Court of First Instance in Luxembourg?"

The history of Sison is sufficiently known. He had been chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines. During the Marcos regime he was arrested in 1977 and imprisoned for more than eight years. After his release, when he was in the Netherlands to give lectures, his passport was cancelled by the government in Manila. Hence, he could not return to his country. He asked for political asylum in the Netherlands. Since that time he has resided here. In 2002 Sison was put on the terrorist list of the United States. The European Union followed and also the Netherlands listed Sison as terrorist, but did not expel him. But the Dutch government stole from Sison his rights as a citizen to participate in Dutch society, where he has resided for almost 20 years.

The problem for years has been that it is impossible to know what are the reasons why Sison was placed on the terrorist list. It is tragic that now he does not know why he is on that list, while for years he has been deprived of a number of social rights and he is totally dependent on good friends and acquaintances. The fact that someone is on such a list and does not know why leads to a violation of the right to life. Many actions have been undertaken in the past years by lawyers of Sison to get him off the list but it turns out in practice to be extraordinarily difficult. The fact that he is placed on the list is a purely administrative procedure, which started in the United States and has ended in Europe. We are made to accept the fact that Sison is without rights, because an appeal for human rights cannot be done. As a terrorist you do not fulfill the requirements for such.

What we would like is for the Dutch government to insist on a fair process on the basis of the right to be presumed innocent, the right to due process and the right to defend oneself. Amnesty International has recently insisted on these rights through a reaction on the European Commission "Green Paper", where it referred especially to Jose Maria Sison. What we must also realize is that the listing of Sison on the terrorist list of the European Union is a great obstacle to the peace negotiations in which Sison participates. The terrorist listing is also misused by the army and the Arroyo government of the Philippines to commit more human rights violations. It would be sufficiently known to you that the situation in the Philippines especially from the viewpoint of human rights is alarming.

What we would like to concretely ask you is whether you are willing to support the request through a public announcement to insist that the Council of the European Union have an open, fair and transparent process. The Sison case has been going on for almost 20 years. It must be possible - also from the viewpoint of humanity - to come to the completion of this human drama?

Respectfully and with heartfelt greeting,

(Sgd.) Hans Visser

click here to view pdf file of message in Dutch

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