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Filipino Americans and Allies Across the US Denounce Department of Homeland Security’s Detention, Torture and Forced Removal of Peace Activist Jerome Aba

BAYAN-USA Demands Accountability for Guantanamo-Style Repression at San Francisco Airport

The U.S. government’s treatment of Mindanao-based peace activist Jerome Succor Aba is utterly reprehensible. Aba was subjected to physical and psychological torture while detained incommunicado for 28 hours inside the San Francisco Airport by U.S. Customs and Border Protection of the Department of Homeland Security (CBP-DHS) from April 18-19, 2018.

There is no justifiable reason for immediately handcuffing Aba upon his arrival at SFO while he was waiting in line at customs. Aba was treated like an “enemy combatant” by the CBP, barking at him that he had no rights, denying him access to a lawyer, shoving him from room to room for interrogation by multiple CBP agents armed with rifles, forcing him to strip naked and sit in a stainless steel room facing an industrial-sized electric fan blowing cold air, depriving him of sleep and adequate water and food, repeatedly threatening to shoot him, and accusing him of being a “terrorist.”

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is trying to cover up what they did to Jerome on US soil. We can’t let them get away with it. Why else would the CBP try to cover up its actions by claiming its denial of entry and removal of Aba was based on technical grounds of inadmissibility? Why else would the CBP force Aba to sign a blank piece of paper and record a video statement saying that he was not tortured?” Stated Bernadette Ellorin, chairperson of BAYAN USA.

BAYAN-USA denounces the CBP-DHS’s treatment of Aba and demands the U.S. government’s accountability for its Guantanamo-style repression of detainees.  These actions fit a pattern of repression aimed at criminalizing and silencing activists by utilizing immigration policies and so-called anti-terror laws—and dismissing the legal boundaries of these laws whenever convenient. We also denounce the CBP’s subsequent cover-up and demand a thorough investigation into the agency’s treatment of Aba. Until then, the CBP’s detention and interrogation operations at SFO should be shut down so that no other detainee will be subjected to such inhumane treatment.

In addition, BAYAN-USA denounces the Philippine Consulate in San Francisco’s response to Aba’s ordeal as feeble and grossly inadequate.  

“The consulate has a responsibility to look after the well-being of its nationals, but they simply accepted the CBP’s claims that Aba was being treated well and did nothing to investigate whether these claims were true. It was only after calls from all over the country and an in-person visit by community members did the Consulate lift a finger to contact CBP to inquire into the situation of Aba.” added Ellorin.

When Aba was detained at the airport, Filipinos, human rights advocates, and church and community organizations conducted an action at SFO for 16 hours, demanding that Aba be released and allowed to enter the U.S. to participate in Ecumenical Advocacy Days and the Stop the Killings Speaking Tour and People’s Caravan for Peace and Justice in the Philippines. When Aba was sent back to the Philippines, many more people across the country protested the U.S. government’s unjustified detention and removal of Aba in New York City, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Portland.

Now that Aba has bravely spoken up about the torture he endured and the denial of his rights at the hands of the CBP-DHS, we can only expect thousands of more people to be inspired to join the movement for Justice for Jerome, justice for all victims of human rights violations, and an end to fascist repression.

Chicago, IL

Los Angeles, CA

New York, NY

 

 

 

Portland, OR

For full video of the press conference held in the Philippines April 21st, 2018, click HERE. For ICHRP US Press statement with quotes from Jerome Aba visit ICHRP US

For Karapatan’s full statement click HERE.

Stand Up for Human Rights Activists in the Philippines: Stop Duterte from Silencing Critics!

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For Immediate Release

March 13, 2018

Reference: Jessica Antonio, Secretary General, BAYAN-USA, secgen@bayanusa.org

BAYAN-USA condemns the US-Duterte regime for its latest act of repression on activists and criminalization of activism in the Philippines. The Duterte administration recently filed a list of almost 600 individuals in a Justice Department petition to proscribe the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA) as terrorist organizations, baselessly tagging the individuals therein as “terrorists.” In fact, many of those listed are simply courageous people who have consistently voiced their criticism of the Philippine government’s broken promises, bloody drug war, bombing of indigenous schools, anti-women remarks, and abuse of power.  

The list includes respected human rights defenders who have called on Duterte to end corruption and corporate landgrabbing of the ancestral lands of indigenous people and the end of militarization of communities, and opposed Duterte for his triple wars against the Filipino people, including the Oplan Tokhang “Drug War,” Oplan Kapayapaan counter-insurgency, and martial law in Mindanao.  Notable people on the list include:

  • Victoria Tauli Corpuz, current United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, former Chairperson of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples and former Secretary General of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA);

  • Elisa Tita Lubi, current Karapatan National Executive Committee member, former interim Regional Coordinator of the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD) and founding Vice Chairperson of Gabriela Women’s Party;

  • Beverly Longid, current global coordinator of the International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL), former CPA Chair and current Advisory Council member;

  • Joan Carling, current Member and Co-Convenor of the Indigenous Peoples Major Group for the Sustainable Development Goals, former Secretary General of the Asian Indigenous Peoples’ Pact (AIPP), and former member of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues;

  • Atty. Jose Molintas, former Asia representative to the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP), former CPA Chair and current Advisory Council member;

  • Joanna Cariño, member of the CPA Advisory Council and Co-Chair of the SANDUGO Movement of Moro and Indigenous Peoples for Self Determination;

  • Windel Bolinget, current Chairperson of the CPA and National Co-convenor of KATRIBU National Alliance of Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines;

  • Jeanette Ribaya-Cawiding, former Chairperson of CPA-Tongtongan ti Umili and current Regional Coordinator of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers – Cordillera;

  • Sherwin de Vera, Regional Coordinator of DEFEND Ilocos, member of the Save The Abra River Movement (STARM) and former Secretary General of the Ilocos Human Rights Alliance-Karapatan;

  • Datu Isidro Indao, Matigsalog-Manobo village chief, council member of the PASAKA Lumad Confederation in Southern Mindanao and an active member of the Parent-Teacher Community Association of the Lumad school run by the Mindanao Interfaith Services Foundation, Inc.;

  • Datu Mandayhon Han-ayan, Talaandig village chief in Malaybalay, Bukid and member of the PIGYAYONGAAN Lumad organization;

  • Datu Mandayhon, a Talaandig village chief and member of the PIGYAYONGAAN Lumad organization;

  • Sergio Lumonday, a Manobo and the Tinananon Kulamanon Lumadnong Panaghiusa secretary general;

  • Zara Alvarez, Research and Advocacy Officer of the Negros Island Health Integrated Program (NIHIP) and former Campaign and Education Director of Karapatan-Negros chapter;

  • Romulo Bito-on, Regional Coordinator of Makabayan-Negros and member of the Samahan ng Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA);

  • Rogina Navarro Quilop, Administrative Officer of the Center for People’s Resources and Services (CPRS)-Negros;

  • Isidro Castillo, former Chairperson of the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW); and

  • Arnold Evangelista and Erlindo Baes, officers of the Batangas Human Rights Alliance-Karapatan

According to human rights watchdog KARAPATAN, the Duterte regime has a growing track record of human rights violations including 256 illegal arrests,  113 extra-judicial killings, and 486 political prisoners. Two months ago, the regime arrested 69 year old, Rafael Baylosis, a long-time labor leader and consultant with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).  In December, two young farmers Janry Mensis (age 22) and “Jerry” (age 17), were abducted, illegally detained, and burned alive by elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines AFP).

“This seemingly arbitrary list is really a targeted hit list known as an Order of Battle (OB) list. It will be utilized to file trumped up charges against activists and justify other fascist tactics including surveillance, harassment, disappearances, and extrajudicial killings. This list will further embolden the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines to carry out Duterte’s dirty work and violence against the people,” stated BAYAN-USA Secretary General Jessica Antonio.

BAYAN-USA calls on all member organizations, allies, and advocates to stand with human rights activists in the Philippines in calling for the end of the cynically named Oplan Kapayapaan (Operation Peace Plan) and to stop the killings, harassment, and criminalization of activists.

Stop the Killings in the Philippines!

Resist the Crackdown on Activists!

Activism is Not a Crime!

End State Fascism!

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BAYAN-USA is an alliance of 20 progressive Filipino organizations in the U.S. representing youth, students, women, workers, artists, and human rights advocates. As the oldest and largest overseas chapter of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN-Philippines), BAYAN-USA serves as an information bureau for the national democratic movement of the Philippines and as a center for educating, organizing, and mobilizing anti-imperialist Filipinos in the U.S. For more information, visit www.bayanusa.org

DEMAND FREEDOM FOR RAFAEL BAYLOSIS AND ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS!

NATIONAL DAYS OF ACTION FEB. 2 – 5, 2018

BACKGROUND

Last November, the Duterte government called for the termination of the peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) with Proclamation No. 360 and the re-arrest of NDFP consultants, despite widespread calls for the continuation of the peace talks to tackle the roots of the armed conflict in the Philippines.

On January 31st, peace activist Rafael Baylosis and his companion, Roque Guillermo Jr., were slapped with trumped up charges and arrested by members of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-National Capital Region (CIDG-NCR).  The arrest of 69 year old Rafael Baylosis, a long-time activist, labor leader and National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) consultant, violates the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), of which the Philippine government is a signatory and therefore bound to by way of the peace talks.

Duterte has arrested at least 145 people for politically-motivated reasons, including six peace consultants, a Bishop, and other faith leaders, bringing the total to over 486 political prisoners under his administration.  Duterte has even launched an assault on mass leaders of progressive organizations who led anti-Trump protests last November during the ASEAN Summit, including Vencer Crisostomo (Chairperson of Anakbayan), Einstein Recedes (Secretary General of Anakbayan), Teddy Casino (BAYAN MUNA Partylist), Renato Reyes Jr. (Secretary General of BAYAN USA), and Representative Carlos Zarate (BAYAN MUNA Partylist).

As concerned peoples organizations and human rights advocates in the US, we condemn the  Duterte government’s  violent crackdown on organizations in the Philippines resisting injustice and working for social change.  President Duterte has vowed to intensify his attacks on activists opposing his three wars against the Filipino people including the so-called Drug War, Martial Law in Mindanao, and counterinsurgency war against the revolutionary movement.

We reiterate our call for the resumption of peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the NDFP to address the roots of the armed conflict in the country. Durable solutions lie in addressing poverty and landlessness through much-needed social and economic reforms. This is imperative for a just and lasting peace in the Philippines to be truly realized.

We call on all our member organizations, human rights organizations, and peace advocates to stand up for human rights and take action to oppose President Duterte’s attacks on progressive organizations and community leaders.

DEMANDS

We demand Rafael and Roque be immediately released from Camp Crame; accountability from President Duterte for trampling on the rights of NDFP consultants; dropping all trumped up charges; and an immediate stop to the harassment, surveillance, arrests, and detention of activists and critics of the Duterte regime.

CALLS

  • Free Rafael Baylosis and All Political Prisoners!

  • Activism Is Not a Crime!

  • Never Again to Fascist Dictatorship!

  • Free All Political Prisoners!

  • Resume the Peace Talks!

MATERIALS & SOCIAL MEDIA

TAKE ACTION

  1. Educate the community about intensified attacks on grassroots organizations and activists.

  2. Launch mass protests in front of the Philippine Embassy and consulates from Friday, February 2nd till Monday, February 5th to garner widespread support and media attention to oppose Duterte’s crackdown on activism.

  3. Call the Philippine Embassy to demand the release of Rafael Baylosis and all political prisoners and to end the attacks on human rights defenders: (202) 467-9300

  4. Produce creative art, posters, infographics, social media memes, songs, and more to inform the public about the human rights situation in the Philippines and the need to free all political prisoners.

  5. Issue public statements to condemn Duterte’s crackdown on activism.

  6. Share information and on-the ground news updates on the situation in the Philippines.

For more info:

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BAYAN-USA is an alliance of 20 progressive Filipino organizations in the U.S. representing students, scholars, women, workers, artists, and youth. As the first and largest international chapter of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN-Philippines), BAYAN-USA serves as an information bureau for the national democratic movement of the Philippines and as a center for educating, organizing, and mobilizing anti-imperialist and progressive Filipinos in the U.S.

The International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines-US is a network of  39 organizations throughout the US, concerned about the human rights situation in the Philippines and committed to campaign for just and lasting peace in the country. Since 2015,  ICHRP-US has coordinated national speaking tours hosting indigenous, faith-based, and environmental grassroots leaders, igniting US based people and organizations to advance the international movement for just and lasting peace in the Philippines

Join Us! Philippine Solidarity Week Feb. 4-11th

February 4, 2018 marks the 119th anniversary of the Philippine-American War.

Though history books will tell you that this war ended in 1902, and “independence” was given to the Philippines in 1946, our National Democratic movement recognizes that the fight for genuine independence for the Philippines continues to this day.

The United States still has its imperialist chokehold on the Philippines, with Duterte as its murderous puppet.  Duterte’s three dirty wars against the people have resulted in more than 13,000 people killed alone in the Drug War, more than 400,000 people displaced due to martial law in Mindanao, and a rise in extrajudicial killings and illegal arrests of activists and community organizers. In a recent example of intimidation and harassment, on January 30, the Manila Office of the City Prosecutor issued a subpoena against Anakbayan Chairperson Vencer Crisostomo, Secretary General Einstein Recedes, Rep. Carlos Zarate and Teddy Casino of Bayan Muna, and Renato Reyes of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN), for bogus charges of direct assault with physical injury, resistance and disobedience to a person in authority, and violation of Public Assembly Act of 1985 in connection with the massive anti-Trump protests last November.

While Trump was on his imperialist tour of Asia, he pledged to provide $14.3 million dollars of military aid and “rehabilitation” in Marawi and $2 million to Duterte’s Drug war. The U.S. has provided over $85 million in counterterrorism-related equipment, training and support to the Philippine military. The new U.S. “counter-terror” operation Pacific Eagle: Philippines, was recently exposed at the beginning of this year, even though Duterte and the U.S. made it official in September of 2017. In 2018, Trump is asking for $64 billion for this program that allows the U.S. to have a stronger military presence including direct military intervention in the Philippines, which is a violation of the Philippine Constitution.

The U.S.-Duterte regime is combining the worst of each of his predecessors into his one man show: the corrupt cronyism and family dynastic behavior, the rise of impunity of the military and police, the fascist and violent attacks on communities, and the tactic of maintaining power through the rule of fear, subjugation, and manipulation.

We call on everyone who supports the fight for Philippine Independence to join BAYAN USA’s Philippine Solidarity Week of Action!

Uphold Philippine Sovereignty!

US Out of the Philippines!

End Martial Law Now!

Never Again to Fascist Dictatorship!

 

  1. Join Actions in your area or plan an action! You can print these SIGNS!

  2. Write a Solidarity Message supporting Genuine Philippine Independence & National Sovereignty (short video, short written statement- these can be emailed to secgen@bayanusa.org) These will also be uploaded to our Facebook page.

  3. Take Action Online: share & repost MEME’s and prop material featured on our Facebook page each day! Take a photo with one of the Signs above & post it!