Arroyo to Invite EU to Check Human Rights Situation in RP

Article excerpt

HELSINKI (via PLDT) --- President Arroyo will invite a fact-finding team from the European Union to monitor and check the human rights situation in the Philippines as part of her administration's "earnest" response to the spate of extrajudicial killings of militants and journalists.

The President bared her plan to Finland President Tarja Halnen during their meeting last Saturday night at her official residence, Mantyniemi, as she assured the government's resolve to uphold and protect human rights back home.

National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales said the President told her Finnish counterpart about her plan to invite EU officials and human rights groups based in Europe to monitor the government's efforts to address the unsolved killings and abductions in the past five years.

Gonzales, who was present at the bilateral meeting between the two leaders, said the President would make the official invitation to top EU officials when she visits their headquarters in Belgium on Tuesday.

The President is due to fly to Brussels this evening after her three-day official visit here.

In an interview with Manila-based reporters, Gonzales said the President initiated the discussions about the wave of political killings in the Philippines in her meeting with Halonen.

Mrs. Arroyo cited the government's efforts to stop the murders and bring to justice the perpetrators, particularly the creation of the Melo commission and Task Force Usig of the Philippine National Police. Gonzales said Halonen did not force the President Arroyo to further explain the human rights situation in the Philippines. …