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.
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
by 31 October 2009.