Willem Geertman speaks during a seminar (photo courtesy of Bayan Europe)
The Netherlands today joined growing calls for justice for murdered Dutch missionary, Willem Geertman, and for the government to immediately address the so-called “culture of impunity.”
Dutch Ambassador to Manila Robert Brinks said he was “shocked and saddened” at the killing of Geertman, 67, by unknown gunmen on Tuesday in Pampanga province.
Activists working with Geertman believe the killing is another “extrajudicial and politically motivated assassination” of those seen to have ties with leftist organizations.
“Human rights remain one of the important pillars of Dutch foreign policy. In partnership with local human rights organizations, the embassy has supported dialogues with the Philippine Commission on Human Rights, law enforcement and human rights defenders. It is our hope that these projects will also contribute to addressing impunity,” Brinks said in a statement.
He said he hoped the authorities will soon arrest the killers and bring them to justice.
Human rights groups from Hong Kong, Canada, Europe and Australia have also denounced the killing.
The Hong Kong Campaign for the Advancement of Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines urged President Benigno Aquino to start an independent investigation with the help of the Dutch government.
It also called for an international lobby to pressure Manila into acting immediately to resolve the Geertman case as well as other extrajudicial killings in the country.
The Europe-based International Committee DEFEND warned Aquino against any attempts to whitewash the case “by weaving a scenario of a robbery gone wrong,” saying the same line had been used to allegedly whitewash the killing of Bishop Alberto Ramento of the Philippine Independent Church in 2006.
This case remains unsolved to this day.
Australia-based Action for Peace and Development in the Philippines, said failure to resolve Geertman’s killing will confirm that impunity for perpetrators reigns in the Philippines and that the government is helpless in enforcing the law.
Gunmen kill Dutch missionary