Souce:Xinhua Publish By Thomas Whittle
MANILA, Dec. 4 — The Philippine government needs to improve human rights condition in the country as extra-judicial killing remain a concern, a top European diplomat said Tuesday.
Ambassador Guy Ledoux, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the Philippines, cited the still unresolved murder of Italian priest Fausto Tentorio. Tentorio, who had served poor communities in the Philippines for 33 years, was gunned down in the morning of October 17 in North Cotabato.
“Although the murderer has been arrested by the police, to my knowledge, no significant progress has been made regarding the identification of the mastermind of this murder,” Ledoux said in a forum.
“The issue of extra judicial killings remains a concern,” he added.
The United Nations Human Rights Council has scrutinized the Philippines’ human rights record, with several countries including the EU alarmed over the continuing killings, disappearances, and torture.
Philippine President Benigno Aquino III has assured that his government will be relentless in its efforts to pursue those responsible for such crimes and bring them to justice.
He also created the Inter-agency Committee on extra-legal killings, enforced disappearances, torture and other grave violations of the right to life, liberty and security of persons.
Ledoux welcomed the creation of this committee, saying it ” demonstrates that the administration is taking steps to more vigorously address the issue of extra judicial killing.”
“I hope that the work of this committee will lead to the conviction of masterminds in past and present cases of extralegal killings, enforced disappearances and other forms of grave human rights violations and thus help put an end to impunity in this area,” Ledoux said.
Ledoux said the EU will extend a 45-million peso (1.10 million U.S. dollars) grant to four non-government organizations working to improve rights situation in the Philippines. The selected beneficiaries are the Karl Kubel Stiftung fur Kind und Familie, Handicap International, National Union of People’s Lawyers and the Union of People’s Lawyers in Mindanao.