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EU experts due in Philippines to help in human rights cases

ICC Note: The EU is offering assistance to help the Philippines understand how to overcome human rights violations, many of which are directed at Christians.

6/17/07 Philippines (AFP) – A team of experts from the European Union (EU) is due in the Philippines next week to help improve the tackling of human rights abuses here, officials said Thursday.

They will meet with government agencies, including the military and the police — blamed for extra-judicial killings — as well as human rights campaigners and members of the judiciary.

Alistair MacDonald, the European Commission‘s envoy to Manila, said the purpose of the 10-day mission, to start Monday, was not to investigate rights abuses but rather to identify how the EU could provide technical assistance.

“The fact remains the killings continue, the fact also remains that prosecutions and convictions have not been easy,” MacDonald said, adding that the team’s visit underlined the EU’s continuing concern for the Philippine government to finally put an end to the killings…

Philippine human rights groups have said more than 800 journalists, political activists, members of the judiciary, labour leaders and crusading politicians have been murdered since President Gloria Arroyo took power in 2001…

United Nations envoy as well as an independent government commission both identified the military in many of the killings.

The armed forces have denied the existence of a policy of extra-judicial executions and has admitted it has moved to prosecute elements within its ranks for involvement in some of the killings…

He said there will be no “quick fixes” and combating the problem required government cooperation.

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