Saturday, March 21, 2009

Migrante raises alarm

Migrante raises alarm over deployment of Police Attache in KSA:

The largest organization of Filipino migrants organization worldwide denounced the move of the Arroyo government to deploy police attaches to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The attaches, who allegedly belong to the Intelligence Unit of the Philippine National Police (PNP), were purportedly sent to combat transnational crimes.

“This deployment is of serious concern to us, especially in the light of escalating attacks against those raising human rights issues against the Arroyo government!,” exclaimed Garry Martinez, chairperson of Migrante International. “We fear that this as an omen that migrant workers, critical of Malacanang’s intensified labor export policy, could be the next target of Arroyo’s brand of state terror.”

The Migrante leader cited the recent wave of extra-judicial killings in Mindanao where members of organizations tagged as “destabilizers of government” were targets.

Martinez continued, “We should bear in mind that Migrante has been labeled by the Arroyo regime, in their infamous video production of ‘Know your enemy’, as one of the “enemies” of the government. Organizations included in that specific video became targets of police brutality, forced disappearances, illegal arrests and torture and exta-judicial killings.”

“It is no secret that our Migrante chapters in the Middle East have been active in raising issues of migrants’ rights violations, not only in the KSA, but elsewhere in the Middle East. These chapters have also been relentless in engaging Philippine embassies and the Arroyo regime for its criminal neglect of OFWs in their part of the world.”

Other migrant advocates such as the Asia-Pacific Mission for Migrants and Migrante’s Middle-East chapter in the KSA has also questioned the deployment.

“Why send police officers steeped in intelligence work to Saudi Arabia, when crimes in the Philippines remain unsolved; when OFWs in the KSA desperately need lawyers, not police officers?” Martinez queried.

Martinez called on its chapter in the Middle-East to be vigilant and immediately report any increased and untoward police activity committed against its members. Migrante also reiterated Migrante-ME’s call to have this deployment investigated by Congress, including the funds being used for this deployment. ###

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