As the nation joins the international community in celebrating the UN declared International Day of Peace on September 21, we are hopeful that soon there will be more cause for celebration. We are confident that a negotiated political settlement between the GPH and the MILF is close by. This Peace Month of 2012 would be an extraordinary month and will be a defining moment in our decades-long peace journey.
We also commemorate and recognize that September 21 connotes a dark chapter in our country’s history- the declaration of Martial Law. Therefore our Peace Day celebration also highlights an assertion that peace requires that Never Again should we allow the loss of our fundamental rights and freedoms. It is a fitting moment, especially on this 40th anniversary of the Martial rule imposition to remember and honor the martyrs and heroes of that era who struggled against the Marcos dictatorship and eventually ousted the regime.
We, the undersigned national, regional and international human rights organizations express our strongest protest against the Malaysian government’s ongoing harassment of Malaysia’s leading human rights organization, Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) through investigations, public vilification and threats to charge the NGO for alleged financial irregularities, non-registration as a society, and receipt of foreign funds.
Since early July 2012, SUARAM has been a target of harassment by the government, which included visits by the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM) to the office of SUARAM to serve notices to the organization to produce information and documents to the CCM, and the seizure of documents from SUARAM’s Company Secretary and auditors. Several of SUARAM’s board and staff members have been summoned to the Commission for investigations. On 8 September 2012, Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said that the CCM had identified five charges under the Companies Act 1965 that could be made against Suara Inisiatif Sdn Bhd, the legal entity of SUARAM. The Malaysian government has also announced that investigations will be undertaken by several other government agencies, including the Registrar of Societies that has publicly noted that SUARAM is not legally registered as a society. On 12 September 2012, a meeting was held between the CCM, the police, the central bank (Bank Negara), the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, the Registrar of Societies and the Home Ministry, to determine the jurisdiction and actions to be taken by the respective government agencies against SUARAM.
We, the undersigned organizations, who participated at the Civil Society Forum on ASEAN Human Rights Declaration, held on 10-11 September 2012 and the consultation meeting of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) with civil society organizations on the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD), held on 12 September 2012 in Manila, the Philippines, comment the AICHR for holding the second consultation meeting and welcome the openness shown by the AICHR representatives in the meeting.
We regret that the participation of civil society organizations in this meeting was still limited and some organizations continued to be barred from participating in the meeting.
Nearly all men can stand adversity,
but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.
Secretary Jesse Robredo is laid to rest. Good governance standards had been raised. Secretary Robredo’s “tsinelas” leadership and example empowered and is empowering people, especially the vulnerable and the marginalized, to hold accountable political leaders who give them less service and to make the latter restless in their political tenure. His governance was noted for the broadest participation, with transparency and accountability. His conduct of public service revealed his character as humble, sincere and self-less. And he molded power accordingly. Secretary Robredo lifted to a new level the fulfilling of the State obligation of giving utmost priority to uphold human dignity as contained in the 1987 Constitution (Section 11, Article II,). The coming elections present an opportunity to multiply Robredo-like good governance and leadership.
International lawyers and human rights experts are studying the possibility of filing criminal and administrative charges against Governor Abdusakur Tan of the Province of Sulu for declaring the entire province and its people in a State of Emergency since March 31, 2009. “He must be held accountable for knowingly and wilfully doing an illegal act that caused a string of human rights violations towards the people of Sulu. It is not enough that the Supreme Court has already declared the State of Emergency as illegal and null and void. The governor must be held accountable for each count of illegal arrest, arbitrary detention, unlawful search and seizure committed during the State of Emergency”, Max de Mesa, Chairperson of the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocate (PAHRA), said during a Roundtable Discussion on “Private Armies and Warlordism” last August 23, 2012 at the Commission on Human Rights Office in Quezon City.