Free Cocoy Tulawie! Free All Political Detainees! Stop Human Rights Abuses in Sulu!
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Free Cocoy Tulawie! Free All Political Detainees! Stop Human Rights Abuses in Sulu!
Free Cocoy Tulawie! Free All Political Detainees! Stop Human Rights Abuses in Sulu! 02 April 2012 Press Statement Free Cocoy Tulawie Movement On the occasion of the “Conference on Human Rights in the ARMM” held in Cotabato City from April 2 to 3, 2012, we, from the civil society and the human rights groups, are gathered together in this peaceful mass mobilization to take the opportunity to extend to the participating national and local government leaders therein, including the human rights institutions, our grave disappointment over the continuing human rights violations and widespread impunity in the country, especially in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). We also express our serious concern over the case of Temogen “Cocoy” Tulawie, a human rights defender from Jolo, Sulu, who have been maliciously persecuted by the Governor of Sulu Province in an attempt to suppress and silence him from his opposition and protests against human rights violations and abuses under the latter’s administration. Four months after his arrest, Cocoy Tulawie is still currently detained in Davao City. He is facing criminal charges he is not guilty of and which are unlikely to succeed given that there are neither testimonies nor material evidences pointing to his guilt. This only shows how the Sulu Governor is taking advantage of his power, influence and political apparatuses to harass Cocoy and his family in this oppressive legal odyssey, forcing Cocoy to suffer behind bars and urging his family to leave the Sulu Province for fear of threats to their lives and security. The case of Cocoy Tulawie is but a classic example of how human rights defenders become victims themselves of human rights violations in the country. They who work for the realization of the fundamental human rights are being exposed to many forms of threats, harassments and other considerable risks especially when they take on issues deemed sensitive by the government. They are being subjected to torture, preventive illegal or arbitrary detention, disappearances, death threats, malicious prosecution, imprisonment and many others that are used to blunt the efforts of human rights defenders. What is more disappointing is that while the innocent ones are illegally detained, the real perpetrators of human rights atrocities remain at liberty and unpunished and the violations they committed remain uninvestigated and unprosecuted. In a recent report, Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chairperson Loreta Ann Rosales said that police and military elements remain as main culprits in human rights violations in the ARMM. Also, Police Chief Supt. Bienvinido Latag said that the major security threats in ARMM are the “powerful politicians with strong political connections and heavily armed followers.” Given the above human rights issues and concerns in the ARMM, we submit the following urgent calls: a. For the administration of President Aquino to allow its “matuwid na daan” policy to work well by releasing all political detainees and protecting all human rights defenders in the country, especially in accordance with the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders binding the State with the duties to protect, promote and implement human rights and to provide effective remedy for persons who have been victims of human rights violations; b. For the CHR ARMM Regional Office to take on as a priority platform the immediate prosecution of human rights abuses and violations in the ARMM and to punish the real perpetrators; c. For the Department of Justice to facilitate the fair, impartial and speedy disposition of the case of Cocoy Tulawie; and d. For the incumbent Sulu Governor to free Cocoy Tulawie from the bondage of malicious prosecution by exposing the truth, living in the side of fairness and justice and stopping the human rights abuses in Sulu. REFERENCE Mr. Jun Aparece Media Officer Free Cocoy Tulawie Movement Mobile: 0920-276-2676 Email: junaparece@mpc.org.ph Website: www.hrdefender.org
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Cocoy Tulawie Part 2

The crusade for human rights in Sulu

On July 22, 2009 a charge of multiple frustrated murder and attempted murder has been filed against Temogen Tulawie at the Regional Trial Court branch 3 of Jolo, Sulu. He was supposed to have plotted the bombing incident in Patikul, Sulu on May 13,2009 which wounded twelve persons including the Governor and his uncle Tambrin. He had been granted Temporary Protection by the Court of Appeals in Cagayan de Oro City when he filed a Writ of Amparo on June 13,2009 and was provided escorts from Philippine Marines, but when a warrant of arrest had been issued against him on October 5,2009, he had to go into hiding.

For frontlining in human rights defense in Sulu, Cocoy has earned the wrath of the powers-that-be in the islands. In the last decade, his organization, Bawgbug, has been working with local, national and international rights advocates to bring in change in the warlord-dominated politics of the islands. In his various capacities as community organizer, provincial chair of the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society, and one-time Councilor of the municipality of Jolo, he had rallied attention to the human rights situation and had organized campaigns and mass actions in the local level. These included fact-finding missions, legal actions, forums and symposiums, and mass mobilizations.

In January 2008, an ID Card System was proposed by Col. Natalio Ecarma of the 3rd Marine Brigade station in Sulu in line with the military campaign to wipe out the Abu Sayyaf in the islands, a move which the Governor supported. The plan was suspended following mass actions spearheaded by Bawgbug and other local civil society organizations. Reports of killings, abductions, and massacre of families, including cannibalism, were also investigated and acted upon. For more than two decades, civilian abuse by Marine soldiers have been the order of the day, with no action from local officials for fear that come next election the military will not support them. Under his leadership, HRV cases have been dug up and brought to court and the office of the CHR-Region 9 in Zamboanga City.

In June of 2008, right after the release from kidnapping by the Abu Sayyaf of news reported Ces Drilon, military bombardment of Tanduh Pugut, Baragay Siunugan in Indanan was conducted by the military. The offensive came after the Governor’s appeared on national television saying Tanduh Pugut is a playground of the Abu Sayyaf. Cocoy facilitated a preliminary investigation by local human rights activists then arranged for an international fact-finding mission. Both missions revealed that the community bombarded was civilian territory and damage to life and property has been extensive. The Governor was forced to backtrack and promised  compensation for injuries inflicted. The promise was of course never fulfilled and the Governor went on to say that human rights reporting is detrimental to the image of the province.

Then on March 31, 2009, following the kidnapping of International Red Cross volunteers, the Governor  issued Proclamation 1 putting the entire province of Sulu under State of Emergency and converting the ruling clans’ private armies into the Civilian Emergency Forces. On the same day, warrantless arrests were carried out. Cocoy challenged the declaration and set out to organize a huge mass protest, to be staged in front of the Governor’s Office. He questioned the basis of the latter’s proclamation and demanded for the guidelines in the implementation of the Emergency Rule and reminded him as well about the killings and massacres very recently committed by the military which remain unaccounted for and unindemnified. Piqued, the Governor called his uncle, Vice Mayor Tambrin, and castigated the latter over the behaviour of his nephew. His uncle invited his mother and two brothers in his office. In the meeting the Vice Mayor told his mother and siblings that whatever will happen to Cocoy, he is not to be held responsible. His brothers retorted that’s okay, neither are they expecting any help from him. Cocoy filed a petition before the Supreme Court, on April 4, 2009, challenging the legality of the Proclamation. Then he proceeded with the plan to hold a big protest action that will demand for the immediate release of arrested civilians. Before the rally could be launched, the Regional State Prosecutor of Region 9 issued an order releasing those arrested. The Governor complied, but the Emergency proclamation remained in place. It was not to be lifted, especially after the Governor finally succeeded in exiling him from the province: using all his powers, the patriarch procured a court order for Cocoy’s arrest.

For more information click on this link: http://hrdefender.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=48&Itemid=54

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Bahrainis demand release of prisoners

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Gavagai!: The evolution of Human Rights

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Cocoy Tulawie Part 1

Human Rights in Sulu: The Case of Temogen Tulawie

How it all began

 

What does it mean to be a human rights defender in Moro country? Temogen Tulawie is no rebel. Though had he wished, it would have been easy.

Belonging to one of the prominent clans in the Sulu islands, Cocoy was privileged enough to be sent to a university in Manila for a college education. He enrolled in an Engineering course at Adamson University, and a year later, went over to the University of the Philippines in Dilliman to take up Islamic Studies. It was however a time of intellectual ferment: Cory Aquino had just been installed into power via people power and there was all over the country a desire for a much needed change. In the city, the Muslim youth were bestirred, engaged in one social transformation project or another. Islamic scholars were doing the lecture circuit and the Golden Mosque in Quiapo was becoming a hub of activities critiquing society and Moro polity. In the University, he sat in his Arts & Science courses with would-be leftists. They were wary of his Moro trapo background; he was cautious and didn’t find secular organizations faultless. Leftists invited him to their forums and discussion groups; he went if he could, but most days he was too preoccupied with trying to organize fellow Tausugs in the city to have the time. More radicalizing was his two-year exposure and involvement in the struggles of farmers in Batangas and Tagaytay and of the fishing villages in Navotas, where he did community immersion as part of the required units in the Community Development electives he chose. The experience would later be very useful when he would go back to Jolo to do human rights work.

His apartment in Sta Mesa became a meeting place for Moro youth to gather, sleep and eat together. They spent nights talking Islam, history and Bangsamoro struggle, filling each other out on news from back home. At the time (late 1980s) their families back home were in a bitter feud, the Tulawie versus the Estino, and then the Tan versus the Tulawie. While relatives home were killing each other, the sons in the city reached out to each other. There was a consensus that all right, let’s face it, Moro society is just as rotten at the core, if not more, the Bangsamoro masses are oppressed, we have to do something. They formed a loose group calling themselvesTawhid (Unity), regularly meeting to engage in political discussions and meet with other Muslim intellectuals in Manila. People often came to the house to speak with him, introduce themselves as coming from one group or another, asking help or offering one. Perhaps, he thinks now, more important than whatever political discussions they were having, his place served as some kind of a hideout, a home away from home, where fellow Tausugs could freely speak in their own tongue and talk about home and bangsa. It was a camaraderie that lasted for years, from 1986 to 1992. For himself, he was growing restless and yearned to be home to do things. His family, he knew, was part of the problem, forever enmeshed as it was in bitter family feuds. He wanted to be part of the solution.

In Manila, some of the youth who came to his place had fallen into vice: Unable to adapt to Manila’s maddeningly fast life, they sought relief in drugs. One such youth got to such a mess that he ended up selling the last furniture he was sitting on, to his family’s embarrassment. His parents disowned him. He had him join them, taking him to meetings and prayers. When later the poor guy was reformed, the parents’ gratefulness was boundless. During school breaks when he would be home, he tried to do what he could, talking to tricycle drivers, fish vendors, neighbours and poor relations who would come to their house for one need or another. Then without finishing his course, he finally decided to get home, for good, he had hoped.

 

For more information click on this link: http://hrdefender.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=48&Itemid=54

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Assault on Human Rights - ABOUT US EDITOR'S NOTE About Us The Cairo Review of

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Assault on Human RightsABOUT US EDITOR'S NOTE About Us The Cairo Review ofThe Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which has governed Egypt since the fall of Hosni Mubarak—and apparently wants to hold on indefinitely—can't justify...
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