Friday, November 30, 2007

Phillipines: Just what the CIA is famous for teaching

UN: Philippines army killed activists

GENEVA - The Philippine army has killed left-wing activists as part of its military campaign against communist rebels, a U.N. rights expert said Monday.

"In some parts of the country, the armed forces have followed a deliberate strategy of systematically hunting down the leaders of leftist organizations," said Philip Alston, a New York University law professor charged by the U.N. Human Rights Council with investigating extra-judicial killings in the Philippines.

Alston called on President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to stop further killings and ensure that those responsible are brought to justice. The view echoes a recent demand by the U.S. Senate that the Philippines prosecute human rights violators — including soldiers — before it can receive additional military aid from the United States.

Alston visited the Philippines in February and issued a preliminary report in which he said the military was in a state of denial about its role in the deaths of about 800 opposition activists over the past six years.

In his final report, Alston dismissed theories the killings were carried out by communist groups to weed out spies and discredit the government.

"The military's argument that the leftist activists who have been killed are the victims of a 'purge' by the rebels is strikingly unconvincing and can only be viewed as a cynical attempt to displace responsibility," he said.

The Philippines military has for almost four decades been fighting rebels seeking to establish a Marxist state. Government troops are also engaged in a campaign against Islamic insurgents in the south of the country.

"The government has undertaken a range of welcome reforms, but the fact remains that not a single soldier has been convicted in any of the cases involving leftist activists," Alston said.

In his report Alston also examined other cases of extra-judicial killing in the Philippines, including the "people's courts" system operated by the communist rebels, and death squad killings of street children and petty criminals.

Original article posted here.

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