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August 30 is International Day of the Disappeared.

August 31, 2013 · 




Aug. 21, Ninoy Aquino Day, commemorated the life and death of Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. With this in mind, the Philippines Solidarity Network, together with faith-based justice and peace advocates in New Zealand, reiterates its appeal for President Aquino, son of Ninoy, to put an end to human rights abuses. Since his assumption to the presidency in 2010, we have joined the international community in challenging him to honor his father by heeding the appeals to put a stop to extrajudicial killings, to free political prisoners and to surface victims of involuntary disappearances.

Last July, New Zealand-based Korean pastor Kyoung Gyun-han represented the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand at the International Conference for Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines in Manila. Coming back to New Zealand, Reverend Han pledged to watch the Philippine situation, engage in solidarity action and strengthen migrants’ ministry, particularly in Auckland and Christchurch, where there are now around 1,000 Filipinos working to help rebuild the quake-devastated city. In solidarity with the victims’ families, we gathered in Auckland to make paper cranes (Japanese origami) in support of the campaign to surface James Balao, Jonas Burgos and all victims of enforced disappearances. Inspired by the ancient Japanese legend that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish by a crane, we sought the help of Japanese friends to demonstrate how to make paper cranes so we could express support for all the families awaiting the return of loved ones who have been abducted by state agents.

We are greatly dismayed and outraged at the fact that far from Mr. Aquino’s 2010 election promise to deliver justice for the human rights victims of past regimes, his three-year administration now holds a record of 142 extrajudicial killings, 540 illegal arrests, 76 cases of torture, 30,678 forced evacuations, 31,417 cases of threats/harassment/intimidation, and 27,029 cases of military use of schools and of medical, religious and other public places, even as it has a zero-rate conviction for the numerous cases under past regimes.


—MURRAY HORTON secretary, Philippines Solidarity Network of Aotearoa, <>; CAMERON WALKER, spokesperson, Auckland Philippines Solidarity, <>


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