Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister expresses support for Ka Bel's case

Free Ka Bel Movement-Philippines
News Release November 26, 2006

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister expresses support for Ka Bel's case; says Canadian government involved in keeping Human Rights a priority in the Philippines

Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Peter G, MacKay stated that his government is well aware of the developments in the human rights situation in the Philippines, including the case of detained Anakpawis Representative Crispin B. Beltran.

Free Ka Bel Movement (FKBM) spokesperson Dennis Maga said that the Canadian official sent Anakpawis and FKBM a letter dated September 25, 2006.

"I share your concerns about the uncertain political environment in the Philippines and the arrest of Congressman Beltran as well as others. The Government of Canada, through our Embassy in Manila, is in close and regular contact with many of the organizations that have been targeted in the recent increase in violence against several organizations, including Anakpawis," MacKay say.

The Canadian Foreign Affairs minister said that When Canadian officials meet with their Philippine counterparts, "We urge them to fully respect international human rights commitments such as the

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the Philippines is a party. Our Embassy also continues to coordinate with a wide variety of partners, including non-governmental organizations,

civil society, other embassies and international organizations, and Philippine human rights officials to improve the situation in the country. The Philippines Justice Reform Initiatives Support Project, Local Government Support Project and McLuhan Prize for Investigative Journalism are only some of the ways in which Canada is involved to keep human rights as priority in the Philippines," he said.

"I can assure you that the Canadian government will continue to monitor human rights in the Philippines and will follow closely the developments of the Beltran case."

Maga said that the FKBM and Anakpawis Party-list continue to receive messages of support for Ka Bel and reassurances that they – foreign officials, church leaders and concerned citizens—are doing their share in campaigning for Ka Bel's release.

"We continue to reach out to as many groups and individuals as possible to unite and rally them behind the cause of Ka Bel's release. It's been nine months, but the Macapagal-Arroyo administration remains stubborn in its refusal to release Ka Bel despite the truth that it doesn't have any real case against him. It's already an international embarrassment that at this day and age when the Philippines is supposedly a country with democratic processes, a well-respected and renowned labor leader and people's legislator such as Ka Bel is being persecuted and made into a political detainee. This all the more focuses the spotlight on the Arroyo government's worsening tendencies of dictatorship," he concluded.#



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