Drop Prof. Sison from “terrorist” listing: letter to Dutch ambassador

On Friday, April 17, 2009, the following letter was delivered to the Dutch Embassy in Ottawa by a delegation from the Philippine Solidarity Network – Canada (PSN-Canada), supported by the International League of Peoples’ Struggle – Canada (ILPS-Canada). In our meeting with Deputy Head of Mission, Erik Boer, delegation members demanded that the Dutch government work to have Prof. Jose Maria Sison dropped from the terrorist listing of the Council of the European Union. Prof. Sison is the Chairperson of the International Coordinating Committee of the ILPS.

For your information, Canada includes opposition groups in the Philippines – the New People’s Army and the Communist Party of the Philippines – on its own “terrorist” list. We also demand that Canada drop those groups from its own list.
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His Excellency Wim J.P. Geerts
Ambassador
Royal Netherlands Embassy
Constitution Square Building
350 Albert Street, suite 2020
Ottawa, ON K1R 1A4

Dear Ambassador,

As Canadians concerned about justice and human rights issues, and particularly about the situation in the Philippines, we would like to commend the decision of the Public Prosecution Service of the Dutch government to dismiss the case against Prof. Jose Maria Sison concerning the deaths of two security consultants of the Philippine government.

This follows the decision to release Prof. Sison from detention because of insufficient evidence following his arrest in August 2007.

As you know, Professor Sison has been a political refugee in the Netherlands for nearly 20 years under the Refugee Convention and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

Prof. Jose Maria Sison has been a leading figure of the Philippine national democratic revolution for almost forty years. He is one of the pioneers who revived the anti-imperialist movement in the Philippines in the early 1960s and he re-established the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). For nine years, he was the most prominent political prisoner of dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Sison admits having been the founder and first chairman of the CPP, from its re-establishment in 1968 until his capture by the Marcos regime in 1977, but today he clearly states he is only the chief political consultant of the NDF and is not in the leadership of the New People’s Army or the CPP.

As the Chief Political Consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDF), Prof. Sison embodies the aspirations of the Filipino people in the over 30-year old struggle they are waging for the country’s national and social liberation. He personifies the spirit of true and genuine international solidarity necessary to bring about a just and lasting peace. And he has been at the forefront of the campaign to put an end to almost 1000 extrajudicial politically-motivated killings and over 200 forced disappearances that have been perpetrated with impunity during the government of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. (See report by Professor Philip Alston, Special Rapporteur of the United Nations Human Rights Council on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.)

We concur with Supreme Bishop Millamena of the Philippine Independent Church, who said in a recent interview: “Prof. Sison is not a terrorist. All he does is to fight with the poor for a life in dignity. That is a legitimate struggle”. Former Philippine Vice President Teofisto Guingona, Jr. has also said that “one needs to make a distinction between a rebel who is fighting because of hunger and perceived injustice, and a terrorist who seeks to sow terror and hatred”.

With this in mind we call upon the Dutch government to do what is necessary to remove Prof. Sison’s name from the “terrorist list” of the Council of the European Union in order to make amends for the injustices that it has done to Prof. Sison in his asylum case, in the “terrorist” listing and in the charge of murder using false charges supplied by the Philippine government.

Yours sincerely,

Philippine Solidarity Network – Canada
(with member groups in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Vancouver and Victoria)

International League of Peoples’ Struggle – Canada
e-mail: ilps.canada[at]gmail.com

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