IFJ Joins London Call on President Arroyo to Stamp out Impunity in the Philippines


The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and

the National Union of Journalists in Great Britain and Ireland

(NUJ), joined the Campaign for Human

Rights in the Philippines and

Amnesty International at a rally yesterday at the Human Rights Action Centre in

London to mark 100 days since the massacre of 23 November 2009, which left 58 people

dead, including 32 journalists in the southern province of Maguindanao in the Philippines.

"The Arroyo government is responsible for allowing a

culture of impunity to grow over the past decade that created the conditions in

which the Ampatuan

Town massacre could take

place," said Jim Boumelha, IFJ


The IFJ is particularly critical of the decision to

promote General Alfred Cayton to deputy commander of the Philippine army within

weeks of him refusing a military escort for the convoy that was subsequently

massacred. Victims' families have since launched a civil action against General


"This promotion not only rewards a fatal act of gross

negligence, but also makes clear the government's determination not to

investigate the role and responsibility of the military in this massacre,"

added Boumelha. 

The IFJ is also critical of President Arroyo's vaguely-worded

Executive Order 546 issued in 2006 which allowed the use of neighbourhood-watch

type armed "force multipliers," or Civilian Volunteer Organisations, in

counterinsurgency operations.  These, in

practice, effectively supported paramilitary groups and legalised private

armies of politicians and other local strongmen.

The IFJ links the use of private armies to the growing

number of extrajudicial killings and disappearances for which nobody has ever been

brought to justice. Prior to this massacre, some 104 journalists had met violent

deaths since 1984. The murder of the 32 journalists and media workers, along

with 25 other victims, is the single worst atrocity against the media and makes

the Philippines

the most dangerous country for journalists outside Iraq.


The IFJ joins the NUJ

UK and the Campaign for Human Rights in the Philippines

in issuing a statement urging the Government of the Philippines

to act on its commitment under International Obligations and Actions, including

the Geneva Convention, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 2006

UN Security Council resolution 1738 that obliges governments to protect

journalists in conflict zones.

In particular, the group is demanding that President

Arroyo revokes Executive Order 546 which allows militias to operate. With regard

to the massacre itself, that Government :

  • - gives full support to the families of the victims - financial, medical and legal;
  •  investigates the inaction  and alleged collusion of the military structures and commands prior to the massacre;
  • - gives sufficient resources and independence to prosecutors and the judiciary to guarantee a speedy and effective investigations , trial and crucially guarantees the safety and protection of all witnesses to the massacre and ;
  • - ensures a safe environment in which media across the country can report on the May 10th election.

For more

information, please call the IFJ at 

+32  2 235 2207         


IFJ represents more than 600.000 journalists in 125 countries