Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Government urged to act on rights abuses
Human Rights Watch calls for more prosecutions ahead of UN review
- ucanews.com reporter, Quezon City
- May 21, 2012
â€śUN member states should see through the Philippine governmentâ€™s rhetoric and question the lack of progress on accountability over the past four years,â€ť said Elaine Pearson, deputy Asia director at HRW.
The UN body will hold its second Universal Periodic Review of the Philippines in Geneva on May 29.
In its first review in 2008, the UN rights body made 17 recommendations, 11 of which were accepted by the Arroyo administration at the time, including â€śto completely eliminate torture and extrajudicial killingsâ€ť and â€śto intensify its efforts to carry out investigations and prosecutions on extrajudicial killings and punish those responsible.â€ť
Since then the government has only successfully prosecuted in four cases of extrajudicial killings, said HRW.
In a statement, it added that President Benigno Aquino had thus far failed to take significant measures to prosecute members of the military, police and militias implicated in extrajudicial killings, torture and disappearances.
Last year, HRW documented at least 10 cases of killings and disappearances attributed to the security forces during Aquinoâ€™s first year in office, none of which had led to a successful prosecution, it added.
â€śThe Philippine government is relentless in its pursuit of creating human rights task forces,â€ť Pearson said at a press conference in Quezon City. â€śIf only officials were just as relentless in pursuing the perpetrators of military abuses so that the victims might get justice.â€ť
In its report to the UN review, the government said it had fulfilled commitments to address abuses, welcoming a â‚¬3.9-million (US$4.99 million) European Union-funded project to strengthen the capacity of the criminal justice system as â€śa major opportunity to put an end to extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearance in the country.â€ť
The Human Rights Office of the Armed Forces of the Philippines said that the recent absence of prosecutions was because â€śall of the human rights violation cases tagging military personnel were only accusations and did not produce sufficient evidence against soldiers.â€ť
Colonel Domingo Tutaan, head of the military's human rights office, said the lack of prosecutions was evidence that the militaryâ€™s human rights program, which trains officers and personnel to respect human rights, had been successful.
Activists welcome human rights review