Last Monday afternoon, 27 concerned Filipino citizens, who are part of civil society organizations (CSO), filed separate communications before two United Nations agencies. A ‘communication’ is a petition before an international body. They urged these two UN agencies to investigate the massive and gross human rights abuses committed on Filipinos in Sabah by Malaysian state agents. The first communication was filed before the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navanethem Pillay. The second communication was filed before the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Mr. António Guterres.
The petitioners asked the two UN agencies to (a) urgently intervene and investigate the massive and gross human rights violations committed by Malaysian state agents against Filipinos in Sabah, (b) to express grave concern on the massive and gross human rights violations committed by Malaysia against Filipinos in Sabah, and (c) to remind Malaysia that it provide effective remedies and compensation to the Filipino victims of the massive and gross human rights violations committed against them in Sabah by Malaysian state agents.
These communications were signed by, among others, human rights lawyer Harry Roque, activist nun Sr. Mary John Mananzan, whistleblower Rodolfo “Jun” Lozada, journalists Vergel Santos and Ellen Tordesillas, and political strategist Pastor “Boy” Saycon.
According to lawyer Harry Roque, “Fortunately, CSO’s will move to protect and promote the human rights of Filipinos in Sabah especially when our government has failed in this regard. Human right, after all, has ceased to be a purely domestic issue and is now a concern for the international community.”
One case of human rights abuse cited in the communications was that narrated by Amira Taradji, whose brother was killed in a “zoning operation” by Malaysian police in a Filipino community in Sandakan, Sabah. The communications also cited the narration of Carla Manlaw, Ibrahim Alih, Sherilyn Viado, and Annang Im.