Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Philippines: UN Special Rapporteurs urge systemic reform in wake of massacre of civilians
The massacre on November 23 of 57 people in Maguindanao, including about 30 journalists, is reportedly the worst election-related violence in the country’s history. In a joint press statement Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions and Frank La Rue, Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, said that the instance should serve as a “watershed” moment to examine the confluence of violence and politics in the Philippines. They voiced concern that “the run-up to the May elections will sound the death knell for many political activists” and urged the Government to “acknowledge this likelihood” and “immediately establish a high-level task force, with broad political support, to identify the measures that should be taken to prevent killings that occur in the lead-up to the elections”.