Statement by International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) President Christopher Warren on mission end statement of Professor Phillip Alston, Special Rapporteur of the United Nations Human Rights Council on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions

“The time has come for change in the Philippines.”

“The time has come for the Armed Forces of the Philippines to fully investigate and expunge its dark underbelly.”

“The time has come for the Government to protect its citizens.”

“The time has come for reconciliation, truth and peace.”

“Over recent years, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has been working with its affiliate journalist organisation in the Philippines, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, to stem the tragic waste of life among the media community in that country.”

“Since President Arroyo’s inauguration in 2001, 50 journalists have been murdered in the Philippines.  Unfortunately, the slaughter has not slowed.”

“There is only one other country in the world with a higher murder rate of its professional journalists - and that country is Iraq.”

“The IFJ supports the end of mission statement produced by the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions, Profession Philip Alston, released yesterday.”

“We agree with Profession Alston that not enough has been done to prevent and solve these murder cases.”

“We agree with Alston that the AFP have been derelict in their duty to investigate allegations that their members have been responsible for some of these killings.”

“We agree with Professor Alston that the Melo report must be published, that accountability must be restored, that witnesses must be protected and that the full political spectrum must be given space in Filipino society.”

“But most importantly, we agree that there is still a huge amount to be done.”

“President Arroyo, the global community of journalists speaks with one voice on this issue: Act now to stop the killings of journalists in the Philippines.”

“The time has come for change.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0919

The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 115 countries