Date: Fri, 14 Aug 98 00:22:36 CDT
From: (Rich Winkel)
Organization: PACH
Subject: Philippines: On the signing of human rights treaty
Article: 41115
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Message-ID: <>

/** reg.philippine: 101.0 **/
** Topic: [Asia-HR-Alert] On the signing of the human rights agreement betwe **
** Written 7:07 PM Aug 12, 1998 by in cdp:reg.philippine **

Rights group welcomes Estrada's signing of CARHRIHL

KARAPATAN Press statement, 11 August 1998

KARAPATAN welcomes President Estrada's signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), through Memorandum Order No. 9, which makes it legal, binding, and effective.

This is a significant event and a major step towards the continuation of the peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front in the Philippines (NDFP), and the protection of human rights, especially at a time when human rights are again being violated with impunity in the name of peace and order and ‘economic development’;, Marie Hilao-Enriquez, secretary-general of KARAPATAN, said.

However, Enriquez cautioned that The people should remain vigilant as there is still a wide gap between signing an agreement and actually addressing the problems and causes of human rights violations. But the signing of the HR and IHL agreement paves the way for the next substantive agenda in the peace negotiations namely, economic and social reforms. The next agenda, which is much more difficult, is aimed at addressing the economic and socially unjust system which the ruling classes, through the state, defend with force resulting in human rights violations.

Enriquez averred, As an immediate measure, the GRP should order the release of the 129 political prisoners in the country as part of its obligation under the CARHRIHL. The agreement also renders the practice of criminalization of political acts as unacceptable. In the said accord, the GRP has agreed to uphold the implementation of the Amado V. Hernandez doctrine.

Furthermore, it is also imperative upon the GRP not only to recognize the claims of the 10,000 victims of human rights violations under Marcos regime who won a class action suit in Hawaii. With the Agreement, the GRP has committed to facilitate the claims of the victims on the Marcos assets to ensure the satisfaction of the Hawaii Federal Court decision and uphold by the US Supreme Court, Marie Hilao-Enriquez added.

In conclusion, Enriquez said, There is no better way to proclaim the signing of the Agreement than through the release of all political prisoners, the satisfaction of the claims of the Marcos victims, and the formal resumption of the peace negotiations.