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Amnesty International Press Release Thursday, June 7, 2012

Amnesty International USA demands an end to impunity for killings and torture during visit of Philippine president to President Obama
Reference: Nerve Macaspac, Amnesty International USA Country Specialist for the Philippines, (415) 359-6515 (Washington, DC) – Amnesty International USA urges President Obama to discuss glaring human rights violations and ways to end impunity for the killings, disappearances and torture of political activists and journalists in the Philippines as he welcome Philippine president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III on June 8 at the White House. “President Obama should put human rights as number one on the agenda, and follow through on the recommendations made by the US during the Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the Philippines. We urge presidents Obama and Aquino to discuss concrete ways to end impunity for extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and torture. At the minimum, President Obama should continue to withhold military aid until the Philippines meet certain conditions in undertaking thorough investigations and vigorous prosecutions of perpetrators,” says Nerve Macaspac, Amnesty International US country specialist for the Philippines. US Congress continues to withhold a portion of US assistance to the Armed Forces of the Philippines until the Philippine government meets certain conditions in solving and prosecuting cases of extrajudicial killings. However, hundreds of cases remain unresolved. On its annual human rights report, the State Department maintains that there have only been limited investigations and few prosecutions. “Families of victims lament the failure of the courts and police to adequately address their complaints concerning disappearances, extrajudicial killings and torture that involve state security forces. Witnesses to these cases also face endless death threats. A third witness to the 2009 massacre of 57 civilians, 33 of whom are journalists, in Maguindanao, Esmail Amil Enog, was discovered chain-sawed to pieces in March. Enog had testified in court that he had seen the driver for the gunmen implicated in the massacre. This is impunity at its worst, and it will definitely do more good than harm if both presidents Obama and Aquino prioritize human rights at their meeting ” states Macaspac. Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied. ### For more information, including the recent report of Amnesty International USA on the Philippines, visit: http://www.amnestyusa.org/research/reports/state-of-the-world-2012 To read more of Amnesty International’s 2012 Annual Report on the Philippines, visit: http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/category,COI,,,PHL,4fbe3919a,0.html

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