Rights group dismayed at Aquino for failing to tackle human rights in SONA

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THE New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Tuesday expressed disappointment toward President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s failure to tackle impunity and human rights violations in the Philippines in his 4th State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday.

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James Ross, legal and policy director at HRW, said President Aquino has failed to take significant measures to prosecute members of the military, police and militias implicated in extra judicial killings, torture, and enforced disappearances since he assumed office in 2010.

“We are dismayed that President Aquino, in his State of the Nation Address yesterday, chose not to talk about the continuing culture of impunity in the Philippines,” Ross said in a statement.

“We are disappointed that he did not take the opportunity to communicate to the military and the police that they will be held accountable for human rights violations. President Aquino’s failure to denounce abuses against outspoken activists, environmentalists, clergy and journalists sends the wrong message to abusive security forces and corrupt politicians,” Ross added.

The rights group earlier sent a letter to President Aquino asking to outline specific actions concerning impunity and rights abuses that he could mention in his SONA.

The president’s failure to denounce abuses against outspoken activists, environmentalists, clergy and journalists, according to the HRW, sends the wrong message to abusive security forces and corrupt politicians.

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