Rights group says abuses continue in Philippines
MANILA, Philippines—Human rights abuses continue in the Philippines under President Benigno Aquino III, and hundreds of violations committed under the previous administration remain unresolved, Amnesty International said Friday.
"The scales of justice in the Asia Pacific and the Philippines remained decidedly out of balance in favor of perpetrators," said the group's head in the Philippines, Aurora Parong. "This continues under the new Aquino government."
More than 200 cases of disappearances and at least 305 extrajudicial killings during former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's administration have not been resolved and "almost no perpetrators of these crimes have been brought to justice," the group said about the Philippines in its 2011 report on the state of the world's human rights.
Parong said extrajudicial executions "continue with impunity" and can only be stopped by bringing those responsible to justice.
Aquino has promised to stop political killings. But Parong said that since he took office last June there has been only "minimal progress in realizing justice for victims of human rights violations and their families."
She criticized the slow-paced prosecution of members of a powerful political clan close to Arroyo accused in the massacre of 57 people, including 32 journalists, in November 2009.
There are 72 private armed groups that remain active around the country after the police and military dismantled 35 others, Parong said.
Aquino promised to disband these groups but has refused to abolish paramilitary groups that help the government fight Muslim and communist rebels but often also serve as private armies of powerful politicians, she said.
There was no immediate comment from government spokesmen.
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