Philippines/USA: Restrictions on the freedom of movement and harassment against Ms. Maza

06/08/2015
Urgent Appeal

The Observatoryhas been informed by reliable sources about the restrictions on the freedom of movement and harassment against Ms. Liza Largoza Maza, Chairperson of the International Women’s Alliance and former representative of Gabriela Women’s Party.

Description of the situation:

The Observatoryhas been informed by reliable sources about the restrictions on the freedom of movement and harassment against Ms. Liza Largoza Maza, Chairperson of the International Women’s Alliance and former representative of Gabriela Women’s Party.

According to the information received, on July 9, 2015, at 11.15 a.m., Ms. Maza was barred from travelling to the US from Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Ms. Maza had been invited to the International People’s Tribunal to give an expert testimony on how two recent bilateral security agreements between the US and the Philippines would violate the sovereignty of the Philippines as well as the Filipino population’s rights.

As she was about to board the plane, Ms. Laza was refused access. The airline ground staff told her that it was due to an email from the Customs and Border Protection of the US Department of Homeland Security. When she asked for a printed copy of the email, the airline ground supervisor refused, saying that it could not be disseminated to third parties.

Ms. Laza went to the Philippine Bureau of Immigration to ask for an explanation and was told that, as far as they were concerned, her travel papers were in order and she was allowed to travel. She was then told to take her documents to the US Embassy for evaluation. Ms. Maza has a valid 10-year US visa and has travelled regularly to the US.

The Observatory strongly condemns the restrictions on Ms. Liza Largoza Maza’s freedom of movement and fears that she may be targeted because of her legitimate human rights activities.

The Observatory urges the US and the Philippine authorities to open an investigation into the above-mentioned events and to refrain from further restricting Ms. Maza’s right to freedom of movement.

Action requested:

Please write to the authorities in the US and the Philippines, urging them to:

i. Conduct a proper, impartial, and independent investigation into the above-mentioned events in order to determine whether Ms. Maza was barred from travelling due to her legitimate human rights activities;

ii. Put an end to all forms of harassment, including restrictions on freedom of movement, against Ms. Liza Largoza Maza and all human rights defenders in the Philippines;

iii. Comply with all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially regarding the following Articles:
- Article 1: “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”;
- Article 5(a): “For the purpose of promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms, everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, at the national and international levels (...) To meet or assemble peacefully”
- Article 12.1:“everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to participate in peaceful activities against violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms”;
- Article 12.2: “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration;

iv. Ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by the Philippines.

Addresses:

Authorities from the United States

· H.E. Barack H. Obama, President of the United States of America, The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20500, White House Number: (202) 456-1111. E-mail: president@whitehouse.gov
· Hon. John F. Kerry, Secretary of State, United States of America, 7th Floor, Harry S. Truman Building, 2201 C Street NW, Washington, DC. Tel: (202)-647-9572. Fax: (202) 647 2283. Email, via website: http://contactus.state.gov/cgibin/state.cfg/php/enduser/std_alp.php
· Hon. Jeh Charles Johnson, Secretary, Department of Homeland Security, United States of America, Washington, D.C. 20528. Tel: (202)-282-8000. Email, viawebsite: http://www.dhs.gov/online-forms-and-email
· Hon. R. Gil Kerlikowske, Commissioner, US Customs and Border Protection, United States of America, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW Washington, DC 20229. Tel: (202)-325-8000. Email, via website: http://www.cbp.gov/contact/cbp-hq
· Hon. Philip S. Goldberg, Ambassador, Embassy of the United States of America to the Philippines, 1201 Roxas Boulevard, Ermita, Manila, 1000 Metro Manila, Philippines. Tel: (02) 301 2000. Email, via website: http://manila.usembassy.gov/contact.html

Authorities from the Philippines

· H.E. Benigno S. Aquino III, President of the Republic of the Philippines, New Executive Building, Malacañang Palace, JP Laurel St., San Miguel, Manila 1005, Philippines. Fax: +63 2 736 1010, Tel: +63 2 735 6201 / 564 1451 to 80; Email: corres@op.gov.ph / opnet@ops.gov.ph/ op@president.gov.ph;
· Hon. Alberto del Rosario, Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs, Philippines, 2330 Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City, Philippines. Phone:(+632)834-7374. Fax:(+632)832-1597. Email: osec@dfa.gov.ph
· Hon. Jose Luis Martin Gascon, Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights, SAAC Bldg., UP Complex, Commonwealth Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines. Tel: (+632) 928-5655, (+632) 926-6188. Fax: (+632) 929 0102. E-mail: comsec@chr.gov.ph
· Hon.Vicente "Tito" Castelo Sotto III, Senate President, Office of the Senate, Office of the Senate Secretary, Hon. Emma L. Reyes, 6th flr. Senate of the Philippines, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City, Tel: +63 2 552-6601 loc. 6129/23 & 24 / +63 2 552-6676, Email: osec@senate.gov.ph
· Hon. Leila de Lima, Secretary, Department of Justice (DOJ), DOJ Bldg., Padre Faura, Ermita, Manila 1000, Fax: +632 523 9548, Email: lmdelima@doj.gov.ph / lmdelima.doj@gmail.com
· Hon. Jose Midas Marquez, Court Administrator, Supreme Court of the Philippines, 3rdFlr., New Supreme Court Bldg., Annex, Padre Faura St., Ermita 1000, Manila, Tel: +63 2 522 590 to 94, Fax: +63 2 526 8129, Email: pio@supremecourt.gov.ph/ sc.judiciary@gov.ph;
· Police Director GeneralAlan LA Madrid Purisima,Chief, Philippine National Police, Camp General Rafael Crame, Quezon City, Philippines, Fax: +63 2 724 8763/ +63 2 723 0401, Tel: + 63 2 726 4361/4366/8763, Email:feedback@pnp.gov.ph;
· Hon. Emilio Gonzalez, Deputy Ombusdman, Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military And other Law Enforcement Offices, 3rd Flr., Ombudsman Bldg., Agham Road, Diliman, 1004 Quezon City, Fax: +63 2 926 8747, Tel: +63 2 926 9032;
· H.E.Mr. Evan P. Garcia, Ambassador,Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the United Nations in Geneva, 47 Avenue Blanc, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 716 19 32, Email: geneva.pm@dfa.gov.ph;
· Embassy of the Philippines in Brussels, 297 Avenue Moliere, 1050 Brussels, Belgium, Tel: +32 2 340 33 77 / 2 340 33 78, Fax: +32 2 345 64 25.

Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of the Philippines in your respective country.

***
Geneva-Paris, August 6, 2015

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, an OMCT and FIDH venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.

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