KAIROS Partners Murdered in Philippines: A Response to the Massacre

Religion, Foreign, and Human Rights Journalists

For Immediate Release
Thursday, 26 November 2009

(Toronto) KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives condemns the murder of 57 people in the Philippines, including two of its human rights partners, and calls on the Canadian and Philippine governments to act swiftly to ensure justice and human rights for all in the Philippines.

In a statement expressing its grief and outrage at the horrifying massacre that occurred in Maguindanao three days ago, KAIROS urges the Canadian government to call Filipino authorities to express the concern of Canadians, hundreds of thousands of whom have relatives in the Philippines, and to ensure that human rights are upheld in their country.

KAIROS is a church-based nongovernmental organization that represents seven of Canada’s largest denominations and works on a range of social justice issues, including international human rights.

Two of the victims of the Manguindanao massacres were KAIROS partners. Attorneys Concepcion Brizuela and Cynthia Oquendo were members of the Union of Peoples Lawyers in Mindanao, a precursor of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, a KAIROS partner in the Philippines.

“The massacre shows a complete disregard for the precious gift of life,” says Connie Sorio, KAIROS’ Asia-Pacific Partnerships Coordinator who has recently returned from a trip to the region. “It is a grim testimony to the pervading culture of impunity and lack of respect for human rights in the Philippines.”

KAIROS has long worked side by side with partners to promote and defend human rights in the Philippines. The partnership with the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers and the National Council of Churches in the Philippines through the Ecumenical Voice for Human Rights in the Philippines is consistent with the Canadian churches’ long standing commitment to human rights.

The Manguindanao massacre is the latest in a long history of politically motivated killings in the country where perpetrators often act with impunity. The KAIROS statement calls on the Philippines government to move quickly to bring the perpetrators of this massacre to justice.

Media contact:
Adiat Junaid
Communications Program Coordinator
KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives
(416) 463 5312, ext. 223
1 877 403 8933, ext. 223

Filed in: Asia-Pacific


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