Rights activist should be allowed into US – Zarate
Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate has condemned the detention of Filipino human rights activist Jerome Aladdin Aba at a United States airport, saying the activist was only to discuss the human rights situation in the Philippines.
Aba, who was set to arrive at the San Francisco International Airport at around 8 p.m. last Tuesday (San Francisco time), was held at the same airport because of an unspecified problem with his visa.
Aba informed the International Coalition of Human Rights in the Philippines of his situation by 7 a.m. last Wednesday (San Francisco time). He is currently detained at a secured area of the airport while awaiting deportation, Zarate said.
Zarate said Aba was scheduled to speak with religious leaders and officials from the US Senate and the US House of Representatives on the Philippine human rights situation, particularly in Mindanao.
“Jerome is in the US to raise awareness about the human rights situation in Mindanao and the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the Philippines, where thousands have already been killed in the two-year reign of President Rodrigo Duterte,” Zarate said.
Aba is the co-chairman of Sandugo, an organization of indigenous people and national minorities that aims to defend the rights of indigenous people in Mindanao regarding their ancestral lands.
Zarate added that both the US and the Philippine governments should have nothing to fear about.
“What is the US and Philippine governments afraid of? Are they so paranoid and scared that the whole world would know the horrid human rights situation in the country?”
“Activists are under attack in the Philippines and in the US with Sister Pat Fox being detained, peasant activists being killed and critics being harassed. This just goes to show the striking fascist similarities between the Trump and the Duterte administrations,” Zarate said. /muf
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