Family of Dutch EJK victim assails Aquino govt rights record; impunity proof of failure of HR

The family of Dutch missionary Willem Geertman who was a victim of extrajudicial killing last year in Angeles City, made strong exception to the statement of European Union (EU) ambassador Guy Ledoux last week lauding the Aquino government’s human rights record.
WILLEM GEERTMAN JUSTICE
Herman Geertman, brother of Willem and spokesperson of the Geertman family, said the EU ambassador’s praise of the human rights record of the Aquino government is like rubbing salt to the wound and pain they are suffering with the unresolved killing of his brother.

“We are in the Philippines right now and participating in an international mission to continue to seek justice for my murdered brother. The EU ambassador’s statements inflict pain and further suffering to us and to the families of the other victims of political killings,” Herman stressed.

The fact that impunity continues in the Philippines, Herman said, is proof that EU aid has been a waste of European taxpayers’ money. Herman was referring to 10 million Euro aid that the EU recently committed to the Philippine government to supposedly improve the human rights situation.

In May 2010, Aquino, then presumptive presidential-elect, promised the 13 diplomats from EU member states to solve extrajudicial killings and capturing and jailing the perpetrators.

July 2010 to April 2013, Karapatan documented 142 victims of extrajudicial killings and 164 cases of frustrated extrajudicial killings. This number includes Dutch missionary Willem Geertman, and Italian Catholic priest Fr. Fausto Tentorio, PIME, whose killings remain unsolved and perpetrators unprosecuted.

Herman and his wife, together with several Dutch human rights advocates, researchers, filmmakers, journalists, Danish trade unionists, and local church lay leaders, are among the participants of the International Solidarity Mission that is conducting visits to three central Luzon provinces, including Aurora province where murdered Dutch missionary Geertman lived for several years as an advocate for peasant and indigenous peoples rights.

The international mission preceeds the International Conference on Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines (ICHRPP) to be held July 19-21 in Quezon City, and is expected to be participated in by more than 200 human rights and peace advocates from 23 countries around the world.###

International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines. The ICHRP is a global network of organizations based outside of the Philippines, committed to campaigning for human rights and Filipino people's rights.