HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
Two PPT Jurors on Government Watch List
UTRECHT, The Netherlands―Two
prominent individuals who served as jurors in the Permanent Peoples’
Tribunal (PPT) Second Session on the Philippines held in The Hague, The
Netherlands last March 21-25, are on the “watch list” of the Philippine
Bureau of Immigration and Deportation (BID) which is an attached agency of
the Department of Justice (DoJ).
BY D.L. MONDELO
UNDER WATCH: Malaysian
activist Dr. Irene Fernandez and Norwegian NGO leader Oystein Tveter,
who served as jurors in the PPT Second Session on the Philippines, are
both on the Arroyo government's watchlist.
Netherlands―Two prominent individuals who served
as jurors in the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT) Second Session on the
Philippines held in The Hague, The Netherlands last March 21-25, are on
the “watch list” of the Philippine Bureau of Immigration and Deportation
(BID) which is an attached agency of the Department of Justice (DoJ).
Fernandez (Malaysia) and Oystein Tveter (Norway) were among the PPT jurors
who gave a guilty verdict to the Macapagal-Arroyo and Bush administrations
for committing grave war crimes against the Filipino people.
“I am not bothered by
that list,” Fernandez said a day before she flew back to Kuala Lumpur. “I
don’t see any reason for including my name on that list. I cannot
compromise my stand on human rights and justice. That watch list comes
from a repressive regime.”
“We don’t get any
protection,” Fernandez stressed. “We stand solidly behind the cause of the
PPT. If anything happens to any of us jurors, the PPT will strongly
Also asked to comment
on the remarks of the Dutch ambassador to the Philippines who said that
the PPT is an “international kangaroo court,” Fernandez, who also served
as the vice president of the PPT Second Session on the Philippines (second
in line to Dr. Francois Houtart, Catholic priest from Belgium) said, “He
doesn’t know what he (the Dutch ambassador) is talking about. He doesn’t
understand the basis of the PPT. His comments are ridiculous. He should
get his facts straight first!”
The watch list that
was stamped “secret”was shown earlier to Fernandez by a PPT secretariat
staff and was dated Feb. 6, 2007. It was originally a “blacklist” prepared
before and during the 12th ASEAN (Association of Southeast
Asian Nations) Summit in Cebu City, Philippines. It was prepared by the
offices of Cesar Garcia of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA)
and Norberto Gonzales Jr. who is Macapagal-Arroyo’s national security
adviser, and signed by Alipio Fernandez Jr., commissioner of the BID.
On Jan. 19, 2007, the
“blacklist” (also called exclusion order) which contained the names of 459
foreign nationals, was downgraded to a “watch list” but contained the
names of the same individuals.
U.S. lawyer Brian
Campbell, whose name appears on both the blacklist and watch list, was
refused entry to the Philippines upon arrival at the Manila international
airport last year. The denial of entry to Campbell caused a “stir” last
Two Canadians who are
on the list were reportedly questioned when they were about to leave the
Philippines this year. Many Filipino-Americans, Filipino-Canadians and
European human rights activists and lawyers are also on the list.
The 459 foreign
nationals on the watch list include, aside from PPT jurors’ Fernandez and
Tveter, peace and human rights activists who participated in several
fact-finding missions on the extrajudicial killings of militants. The
reports of these missions brought to the attention of the international
community the impunity of the political killings and paved the way for
such high-caliber missions to the Philippines as that of the United
Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur Prof. Philip Alston, and an international
tribunal such as the PPT.
well-known in Malaysia as a social activist and a firm advocate of the
rights of women and migrants. She was a recipient of the 2005 Right
Livelihood Award, considered as an equivalent of the Nobel Prize.
Tveter is a former
Norwegian Foreign Ministry Official in Zambia and South Africa and a
former executive of the Norwegian Church Aid and the Centre for
Partnership in Development, also in Oslo, Norway. He was awarded the most
coveted King’s Golden Medal of Merit for his “lifelong engagement in the
development of human rights and international solidarity work.”
Norway is serving as
third country facilitator between the Government of the Philippines (GRP)
and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in the peace
Editor’s Note: D.
L. Mondelo is Bulatlat’s correspondent for Europe.
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