Philippine Human Rights Concerns Raised by Presiding Bishop in Manila
The U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines, Kristie Kenney, learned about the human rights concerns facing the country from Presiding Bishoop Katharine Jefferts Schori in their meeting Wednesday, June 4, at the U.S. Embassy in Manila. Kenney said she had some “guaded optimism” when it came to the response of the Philippine government to these issues, noting their recent efforts to investigate abuses and also to provide resources and training to ensure that no one is above the law.
6/5/08 Philippines (EpiscopalLife) Extra-judicial killings and human rights abuses were some of the issues discussed by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori with U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Kristie Kenney at a June 4 meeting at the U.S. Embassy in Manila.
“The Episcopal Church is concerned with the issue of violation of human rights because it is part of our baptismal covenant as Christians to ‘respect the dignity of every human being’ and because it has been a consistent concern of our sister churches and ecumenical partners in the Philippines,” Jefferts Schori said.
“We are in solidarity with our Philippine partners in calling for an end to extra-judicial killings and human rights violations and we want to let our embassy know that the Episcopal Church will stand by with our Christian brothers and sisters in the Philippines in ensuring that human lives are held sacred, human dignity is affirmed and social and political rights are defended,” she added.
Kenney, who is the first woman U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines, noted “with guarded optimism,” the emerging response of the Philippine government in readily investigating cases of human rights abuses and of providing training and resources that would strengthen the Philippine judicial system and ensuring that no one is above the law.
“The fact of the matter is that it would serve the best interests of the Philippine government in pursuing its vision of economic development and prosperity, if they maintain the full support and trust of their people,” Kenney said. “The Philippines is one of the democratic nations in the world where the United States has huge investment both in human and financial resources. The Filipinos are a great and loving people and we care deeply for the Philippines, which is our historical friend and political ally.”
Speaking on behalf of the IFI, which suffered the “martyrdom” of one of their former supreme bishops, the Most Rev. Alberto Ramento, from an alleged extra-judicial killing in 2006, David said: “We are deeply touched by the support of Bishop Katharine to the plight of the Filipino Church and the Filipino masses and for those who struggle for justice and peace. The Presiding Bishop’s consistent solidarity with us over the issue of extra-judicial killings and human rights violations in the Philippines over the past three years deepens our concordat relations and makes us as one Body of Christ.”