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Philippines not doing enough on killings amid outcry: EU official

ICC Note: The European Union finds that the Philippines has a long way to go to eliminate the country’s high rate of extra-judicial killings, including recent persecution of Christians.

6/30/07 Philippines (AFP) – Despite rising international concern, President Gloria Arroyo’s government is failing to properly address the “plague” of extra-judicial killings in the Philippines , a European Union official said Friday.

Alistair MacDonald, the European ambassador to Manila , made the comments as an EU assessment team wound up a mission here to look at how western Europe could help Manila solve the problem.

He told a joint media conference with Arroyo aides that even though Manila had recognised it had a “serious” problem, “the killings have continued, abductions continue”.

The solution rate “is much less than that of what you may call ordinary killings, so there is a great deal to be done in order to make concrete progress in prosecuting these killers,” he said.

While the EU was ready to help “in the context of increasing international concern, extra-judicial killings are nevertheless a Philippine problem requiring a Philippine solution,” he said.

Local human rights groups say more than 800 leftist activists have been murdered since Arroyo took office in 2001. The military says the number is exaggerated as some of the dead were communist guerrillas killed in armed clashes.

A UN envoy and an independent government commission have both identified military elements in many of the killings…

“The Philippine government has reiterated its determination to stop the plague of extra-judicial killings and invited the EU to consider providing technical assistance to strengthen the capability of Philippine institutions to address this issue,” he added.

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