DOC 62k PDF 96k
25 April 2007
PE 387.135v01-00}
PE 389.439v01-00}
PE 389.442v01-00}
PE 389.447v01-00}
PE 389.449v01-00}
PE 389.451v01-00} RC1
B6‑0185/2007} RC1
pursuant to Rule 115(5) of the Rules of Procedure, by
    Thomas Mann, Bernd Posselt and Eija-Riitta Korhola, on behalf of the PPE-DE Group
    Pasqualina Napoletano and Marc Tarabella, on behalf of the PSE Group
    Jules Maaten and Marios Matsakis, on behalf of the ALDE Group
    Gintaras Didžiokas, Michał Tomasz Kamiński, Adam Bielan and Ryszard Czarnecki, on behalf of the UEN Group
    Frithjof Schmidt, Raül Romeva i Rueda and Elisabeth Schroedter, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group
    Tobias Pflüger, on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group
replacing the motions by the following groups:
    PSE (B6‑0160/2007)
    ALDE (B6‑0173/2007)
    GUE/NGL (B6‑0176/2007)
    Verts/ALE (B6‑0181/2007)
    PPE-DE (B6‑0183/2007)
    UEN (B6‑0185/2007)
on the Philippines

European Parliament resolution on the Philippines  

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Report of the independent Commission to Address Media and Activist Killings, chaired by Justice Jose Melo, which was released on 22 February 2007,

–  having regard to the preliminary report by Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions,

–  having regard to the statement by the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, Martin Scheinin, of 12 March 2007,

–  having regard to the pledges the Philippine Government gave to the international community prior to its election to the UN Human Rights Council,

–  having regard to the Convention against Torture of 1984, as ratified by the Philippines on 18 June 1986, and its First and Second Optional Protocols allowing, respectively, individual complaints and visits to detention facilities by independent bodies,

–  having regard to the UN Convention on Enforced Disappearances,

–  having regard to the 14 May Congressional and local elections in the Philippines and the EU observer mission to be deployed,

–  having regard to the 16th EU-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting Joint Co-Chairmen's Statement of 15 March 2007,

–  having regard to the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) of Foreign Ministers on 28 and 29 May in Hamburg,

–  having regard to the Declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union on the complete abolition of the death penalty in the Philippines of 26 June 2006,

–  having regard to the European Commission’s Country Strategy Paper (CSP) and the National Indicative Programme (NIP) 2005-2006 for the Philippines,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on the Philippines,

–  having regard to Rule 115(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas in recent years the number of politically motivated killings in the Philippines has dramatically risen and the human rights situation in the country gives reason for serious concern,

B.  whereas the local human rights organisation Karapatan has recorded 180 forced disappearances and over 800 killings, most of them by unidentified gunmen, since 2001,

C.  whereas most of those killed, such as opposition party members, church people, community leaders, peasants, journalists, lawyers, human rights activists, trade unionists or simply witnesses of extra-judicial killings, have been accused by government representatives of being front organisations for illegal armed groups and 'terrorists',

D.  whereas President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has appointed a high-level independent commission (the Melo Commission) to examine the problem and a national-level police task force (Task Force Usig) to investigate the killings promptly and to prosecute the perpetrators,

E.  whereas both the findings of the Melo Commission and the results of the investigations by the UN Special Rapporteur indicate the involvement of the Army in those political killings and whereas attacks rarely lead to the charge, arrest or prosecution of the murderers,

F.  whereas the Melo Commission's recommendations include: creation of an independent civilian investigative agency with authority to execute warrants and make arrests; training for prosecutors; creation of Special Courts to handle these cases; enhancement of the Witness Protection Programme; increasing the investigative capabilities of the police; and orientation and training for security forces,

G.  whereas as a follow-up to the recommendations of the Melo Commission, President Arroyo has issued a 6-point plan to stop extrajudicial killings, including an order to the Department of Justice to broaden and enhance the Witness Protection Programme, requests to the Supreme Court to create Special Courts to try those accused of killings of a political or ideological nature, to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to issue a new document on Command Responsibility and to the Department of Justice and National Defence to coordinate with the independent Melo Commission on Human Rights and an order to the Department of Foreign Affairs to submit a formal request to the European Union (EU), Spain, Finland and Sweden to send investigators to assist the Commission,

H.  whereas recent anti-terrorist measures adopted by the government give rise to serious concern regarding the possible breaches of human rights of the persons detained on the basis of this law,

1.   Expresses its grave concern at the increasing number of political killings that have occurred in recent years in the Philippines and the role that army forces play in perpetrating such murders; urges the Philippine authorities to make the necessary investigations in a timely, thorough and transparent manner and to bring those responsible to justice;

2.  Condemns in the strongest terms the murder of Ms Siche Bustamante-Gandinao, a dedicated human rights activist who was killed just days after testifying to the UN Special Rapporteur, and is concerned about the lack of any police investigation concerning this important case;

3.  Takes the view that the adoption of the Human Security Act 2007, which will enter into force in July 2007, is liable to further increase the incidence of human rights violations by the Security Forces because it will allow arrest without warrant and arbitrary detention for up to three days; calls in this respect upon the Government of the Philippines to introduce concrete protection measures to avoid human rights abuses that could result from application of this law;

4.  Denounces attacks on legal opposition groups, and calls on the authorities to put an end to allegations of collusion between peaceful opposition groups and illegal armed groups;

5.  Welcomes the establishment and the recommendations of the Melo Commission and the establishment of the Task Force Usig as well as President Arroyo's declaration on 30 January that she has 'no tolerance for human rights violations' as a first step;

6.  Calls upon the government to adopt measures to end the systematic intimidation and harassment of witnesses in connection with prosecutions for killings and to ensure truly effective witness protection; stresses also the need to stop inciting violence towards certain political or civil-society groups and to restore normal accountability mechanisms to check government abuses; calls particularly in this respect on the Ombudsman to take seriously his constitutional role in responding to extrajudicial killings attributed to public officials;

7.  Views positively the Six-Point Programme of the government to end the political killings; stresses, however, that the Government of the Philippines must show real commitment to investigating those killings and a readiness to bring those responsible for them to justice, including representatives of the security forces; notes that so far most police investigations have tended to be flawed;

8.  Welcomes the signing by President Arroyo on 24 June 2006 of the legislation abolishing the death penalty in the Philippines; also calls on the Philippine authorities to ratify the newly adopted UN Convention on Enforced Disappearances and to adopt implementing legislation;

9.  Is concerned that the climate of impunity has a corrosive impact on public confidence in the rule of law and that the killings are creating a climate in which people in the Philippines cannot feel free to exercise their rights of political expression and association;

10.  Appeals to the President to take immediate action in order to prevent the risk of further escalation of violence before and during the upcoming polls;

11.  Calls on the Government of the Philippines to guarantee the security of those applying for the redistribution of land under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Programme (CARP) and to expedite the implementation of the land reform programme in order to curb one of the root causes of political violence;

12.  Welcomes the European Commission's announcement that it will contribute to the Philippine Government's efforts with regard to the inquiries into extrajudicial killings by sending a team of experts;

13.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the UN Commission on Human Rights, the governments of the ASEAN Member States and the Government and Parliament of the Philippines.

Last updated: 26 April 2007 Legal notice