James Balao, an activist working on Indigenous Peoples rights, was forcibly disappeared on 17 September 2008 in Baguio City, Philippines. He was last seen near his home being roughly bundled by armed men into a white van. One of the men who took him shouted at onlookers, and told them not to interfere because they were police officers arresting James. A court has ordered the authorities to reveal where he is, and do no further harm to him, but has not authorised his family to look for him in places of detention. He is one of hundreds of Filipinos who have been forcibly disappeared and have not been found yet .

James, a member of the Indigenous Benguet Ibaloi tribe in the Cordillera region in Northern Philippines, dedicated himself to research and fighting for Indigenous Peoples rights, particularly ancestral land rights. He contributed to the drafting of the Philippines’ Constitution. He is one of the founding members of the Cordillera People's Alliance (CPA), an alliance of local organizations from the different Indigenous tribes in the Cordillera region.

Take action!
Join the call to Surface James Balao and Stop Enforced Disappearances in the Philippines.

Take photos of yourself or with friends, ideally in front of a local landmark to show international solidarity, holding up a message such as: "End Enforced Disappearances -- the world is watching" or "Where is James Balao?"

The photos will be used as part of an international solidarity campaign on the one-year anniversary of James' disappearance. Email photos to or by 31 October 2009.