Open Letter To: Her Excellency Gloria Macapagal Arroyo President of the Philippines

26/08/2004
Press release

Open Letter
To: Her Excellency Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
President of the Philippines

Paris-Geneva, August 26, 2004

Your Excellency,

Mr Rashid Manahan was the coordinator of Mamamayang Tutol sa Bitay (MTB-Davao / Movement for Restorative Justice), a newly established Philippine network of NGOs and human rights institutions involved in the struggle for the abolition of the death penalty.

The Observatory has been informed by Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) that Mr Rashid Manahan has been killed in front of Ponce Suites, Bajada, Davao City, while he was on his way to attend a forum against the death penalty and salvaging at UP (University of the Philippines) Mindanao.

The Observatory calls upon the Philippine authorities to order an immediate investigation into the killing of Mr Rashid Manahan, identify those responsible, and bring them before an independent and impartial tribunal.

The Observatory recalls that in February 2004, two other human rights defenders were killed. Mrs. Juvy Magsino, a human rights lawyer and the Chairperson of Mindoro for Justice and Peace and Vice Mayor of Naujan, in Mindoro Oriental, and Mrs. Leima Fortu, a volunteer at Mindoro for Justice and Peace and the Acting Secretary General of the Alliance for Advancement of People’s Rights (KARAPATAN), in Mindoro Oriental in Philippines, were shot dead by two unidentified men on a motorcycle without a license plate.

The Observatory would also like to draw attention to the death of yet two other human rights defenders in April 2003. Eden Marcellana, Secretary general of the Tagalog-South office of KARAPATAN, and Eddie Gumanoy, President of the KASAMA-TK peasant group, were found dead shortly after being kidnapped when they were investigating human rights violations committed in the eastern province of Mindoro. The presumed

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