Kairos Statement on the Maguindanao Massacre
Kairos urged Canadian government to call Filipino authorities to express the grave concern of Canadians, hundreds of thousands of whom have relatives in the Philippines, to ensure that human rights are upheld in their country.
“..I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live” (Deut. 30:19).
It is with grief and outrage that we join the Filipino people in mourning the murder of 57 of their citizens, mostly women, in a horrifying massacre on November 23 in the province of Maguindanao.
KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives condemns these murders and calls for all levels of government in the Philippines to quickly bring to justice those responsible and renew its efforts to protect the lives of its people.
The massacre is a grim testimony to the pervading culture of impunity and lack of respect for human rights in the Philippines.
Two of the victims, Attorneys Concepcion Brizuela and Cynthia Oquendo, were members of the Union of Peoples Lawyers in Mindanao, a precursor of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, a KAIROS partner in the Philippines. To their families, and the families of the other murdered men and women, we offer our deepest condolences and join in their anger that vibrant lives have come to this terrible and unnecessary end.
KAIROS has long worked side by side with partners to promote and defend human rights in the Philippines. The partnership with the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers and the National Council of Churches in the Philippines through the Ecumenical Voice for Human Rights in the Philippines is consistent with the Canadian churches’ long standing commitment to human rights.
We are deeply aware that international vigilance will be required to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice. Despite the work of the “Stop the Political Killing in the Philippines” ( www.stopthekillings.org ) campaign--launched in Canada in 2007--and despite constant calls for action from the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, political killings and impunity remain.
We offer our prayers for the victims and their families, and our deepest solidarity to our partners. As the majority of victims were women, this underscores the urgent need to eliminate violence against women around the globe.
KAIROS calls for prayers for the people of the Philippines, and action to save lives.
We urge our Canadian government to call Filipino authorities to express the grave concern of Canadians, hundreds of thousands of whom have relatives in the Philippines, to ensure that human rights are upheld in their country.
KAIROS unites Canadian churches and religious organizations in a faithful ecumenical response to the call to “do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8). KAIROS members include: The Anglican Church of Canada, Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, Canadian Religious Conference, Christian Reformed Church in North America (Canada Corporation), Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, Mennonite Central Committee Canada, The Presbyterian Church in Canada, The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), The United Church of Canada.