Tuesday, December 16, 2008


At this time dozens of labour rights activists in the Philippines have an "arrest list" hanging over their heads because of their activities in defense of workers' rights. The following appeal comes originally from the Workers' Assistance Centre in the Philippines, but it has also been broadcast by the International Labor Rights Forum and the Maquila Solidarity Network. Here's the story and what you can do to help.
URGENT ACTION: 71 labour rights advocates put on arrest lists by Philippine Government‏ :

On October 3, 2008, the terror felt among labour activists in the Philippines grew even stronger. In addition to the arrest of Remigio Saladero, which MSN alerted you to earlier, another 71 people including well-known human and labour rights advocates were put on an arrest list by the Philippines government. Emmanuel "Manny" Asuncion, who is a board member of the Workers’ Assistance Centre (WAC) -- a close ally of MSN -- was included in the arrest order. At this point in time, Manny has not been arrested but there is increasing concern that he will be. WAC advises that the list of those to be charged was created without any due process or investigation period.

The International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) has issued an action alert urging people to speak out against this possible arrest and the persecution of labour and human rights advocates in the Philippines. MSN urges you to support this appeal by sending an email to the Government of the Philippines and the Employers Confederation of the Philippines.

Click here to join the protest. (NOTE: This will take you to the ILRF site, where you can choose whether or not to receive further action alerts from them directly by checking or un-checking the appropriate boxes)

You might also be interested in ILRF’s blog posting Blind Justice Gone Awry in the Philippines: "Please, no questions asked." For further background on the case from WAC, please click here.
By clicking the link above you will come to the site where you can send the following letter to the government of the Philippines and the Employers Confederation of the Philippines.
I have just received an email from the International Labor Rights Forum indicating that there has been a continued effort by the Government of the Philippines with cooperation from the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) to continue to intimidate and thwart the efforts of labor unionists and supporters in demanding accountability for the violence against labor leaders.

Furthermore, I am shocked to learn that ECOP has stood in opposition of a formal investigation by the International Labor Organization (ILO) into the violence and targeting of labor leaders in the Philippines. Given that the ILO is an internationally recognized and respected body, I would expect the ILO would be welcomed to the Philippines.

I have also learned that no due process was followed before the 72 arrest warrants were filed which included arrest orders for many of the most outspoken labor leaders in southern Tagalog.
I send this email in the hopes that the government of the Philippines and ECOP will: - End the campaign of intimidation against labor leaders and supporters;- Invite the ILO to do a full independent investigation into the human rights violations in the Philippines;- Drop all the criminal charges against Emmanuel "Manny" Asuncion and to all other labor activists and leaders of people's organizations in Cavite.

I stand in solidarity with the workers of the Philippines and look forward to the day when they will enjoy the full benefits of internationally recognized labor rights.

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