Why Should Canada Care? A Forum on Human Rights issues in the Philippines

Room 2270, Sauder Industries Policy Room Simon Fraser University at Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings, Vancouver, BC (Map)


Philippine Human Rights Situation: Why Should Canada Care? A Forum on Human Rights issues in the Philippines

Philippine human rights defenders and former political prisoners Dr. Merry Mia-Clamor and Ms. Angelina Bisuña Ipong will expose first-hand the human rights violations against them and those who express dissent and who take action for social change in the Philippines.
Dr. Merry Mia-Clamor is a medical doctor and the Coordinator of the Philippine Council on Health and Development. In Feb 2010, she was arrested along with 42 other health workers, subjected to physical and psychological torture, detained for 10 months and later released in December 2010 after all charges were dropped. Dr. Clamor and the other health workers filed a civil law suit against the military, the police and former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to hold these authorities accountable for the gross human rights violations.

Angelina Bisuña Ipong is the Secretary General of SELDA, the Philippine organization of former political prisoners. Ipong was arrested in March 2005, tortured, sexually assaulted and denied her legal and civil rights, charged with rebellion and released six years later in February 2011 with all charges against her dismissed for lack of evidence. In prison, Ipong wrote the book "Garden Behind Bars," taught basic literacy to the other prisoners and kept a vegetable garden.

Dr. Clamor and Ms. Ipong are with the Human Defenders Tour of Canada which is part of the international effort in preparation for the May 2012 United Nations Universal Periodic Review (UPR) session. The Philippine human rights record will be under review by UN member states, including Canada.

The delegation will have visited Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, and Winnipeg to speak and meet with the youth and students, politicians, church communities and leaders, migrant and indigenous communities before heading West. Vancouver and Victoria will be the last stops of the Canada-cross country tour.