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German bishops lobby to end Philippine killings

May 16, 2017 ·  By Paterno Esmaquel II for www.rappler.com

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German bishops back the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) in fighting extrajudicial killings and opposing the death penalty

BACKING CBCP. Representing the German Bishops' Conference, Archbishop Ludwig Schick asks German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel to help end extrajudicial killings in the Philippines. Photo courtesy of the Archdiocese of Bamberg's Press Office

BACKING CBCP. Representing the German Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Ludwig Schick asks German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel to help end extrajudicial killings in the Philippines. Photo courtesy of the Archdiocese of Bamberg’s Press Office

MANILA, Philippines – Heeding a call by their Filipino counterparts, German bishops lobbied with the German government to help end extrajudicial killings as well as other threats to human rights in the Philippines.

Archbishop Ludwig Schick, chairman of the Commission for International Church Affairs of the German Bishops’ Conference, made this appeal in a letter to German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel on Friday, May 12.

In his letter to Gabriel, Schick said the German Bishops’ Conference “shows solidarity” with the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) in fighting extrajudicial killings and opposing the death penalty.

“As chairman of our conference’s Commission for International Church Affairs, which is responsible for matters such as this, I kindly ask you, the Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs, to step up the critical dialogue with the government of the Philippines in the current, politically decisive phase and to do everything in your power to ensure that the human rights situation in the Philippines does not deteriorate,” Schick told Gabriel.

Schick explained that CBCP president Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas asked the German Bishops’ Conference to support the CBCP’s appeals to the Philippine government.

“These appeals voice opposition to the reintroduction of the death penalty and the lowering of the age of criminal responsibility and express active support for both the observance of human rights in the fight against drugs and an end to ‘extrajudicial killings,'” the German bishop said in his letter, a copy of which is uploaded on the website of the Council of the Laity of the Philippines.

The enumerated issues remain contentious points between the CBCP and the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, who has vowed to wage a bloody anti-drug campaign.

In this war on drugs, legitimate police operations have killed at least 2,717 suspected drug personalities while at least 3,603 deaths remain under investigation.

Nearly two months before Schick wrote his letter to Gabriel, Austrian bishops already joined the CBCP in slamming the human rights abuses in the Philippines under Duterte.

Recently, the Vatican itself condemned the “deeply troubling” extrajudicial killings in the Philippines. – Rappler.com

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