September 9, 2013
We, progressive Filipino students and youth in Toronto, strongly denounce the detention of Kim Chatillon-Meunier by the Bureau of Immigration (BI). Kim, a 24-year old student, was denied to board her flight back to Canada Friday night Manila-time. She is being held in the BI detention center in Taguig city. Kim is one of the people included in the “watchlist” made by security state forces of foreign activists showing solidarity with the Philippines.
Kim was in the Philippines for her internship as part of her requirement for the international studies she is taking at the University of Montreal. She participated in women’s reproductive health research and documentation in slum communities in Tondo, Manila. Prior to her observance of the rally during the State of the Nation address last July, she was a delegate at the International Conference on Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines (ICHRPP).
We are alarmed at this pattern of harassment and violation of human rights persist in the Philippines. As we have seen, this is not the first case that foreign participants in mass demonstrations have been held by Immigration officials to be deported and blacklisted. From the illegal detention of Thomas van Beersum in the wake of the ICHRPP, the BI under the Aquino administration has just proved its repressive character in the Philippines, where thousands of human rights abuses are consistently brushed off the side.
We demand the immediate release of Kim and a guarantee to her safe passage back to Canada. This show of threat to individuals who stand up to support human rights issues in the country does not at all reflect the Filipino people’s interests. It contradicts the principles of democracy and peace, which it had always advocated.
As people of conscience around the world, we will keep a close watch of this case. We demand that her rights, particularly her right to counsel, be recognized. We demand the scrapping of
such blacklists/watchlists by the BI.
We call for the international community, including the Canadian government, to speak out against these threats to human rights in the Philippines under the Aquino administration.
For more updates, please see http://is.gd/y2Tzq8.