Attend Vigil for Human Rights in the Philippines, Thursday, July 30 in San Francisco
Melissa Roxas (center) grips the hands of Linda Wiberg, Director of Connectional Ministry for the California-Nevada Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church (right), and Leila de Lima, Chair of the Philippines Commission on Human Rights, during her arrival interview at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport VIP Lounge in Manila last week. Photo by Roger Margallo, Philippine Daily Inquirer.
The USA-Philippines Ecumenical Advocacy Network invites concerned United Methodists and others to attend a Vigil for Human Rights in the Philippines, Thursday, July 30 at 6 p.m. at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in San Francisco. The church is located at 756 Mission Street.
On the night of Philippine President Gloria Arroyo's meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama, the network is staging a gathering to remember human rights victims and to pray for meaningful change in the militarized situation in the Philippines. Clergy, musicians, and concerned advocates from around the Bay area will meet to reflect, sing, light candles, and sign a letter to Pres. Obama asking him to hold the Philippine Government and its military accountable for the abduction and torture of hundreds of activists, including American citizen Melissa Roxas.
Roxas says she was illegally abducted and tortured while on a medical relief mission in the Philippines in May. She has petitioned the Philippine courts for an investigation of her case, and for protection for her and her family. The Philippines Pastoral and Solidarity Delegation of the California-Nevada Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church escorted Roxas back to the Philippines for her court hearing - which is being held on the same day as the Arroyo-Obama meeting. Members of the delegation will attend the hearing with Roxas and escort her back to the U.S. afterward, in an effort to ensure her safety.
It is reported that since Arroyo assumed power in 2001, hundreds of clergy, activists, and human rights workers have been illegally harassed, abducted, tortured, or murdered. Reliable sources such as the United Nations and Amnesty International put the total at 600 disappeared or killed in the last eight years, with additional hundreds of thousands indiscriminately displaced by military exercises and fear-mongering.
"President Obama must demand justice for [Melissa Roxas] and for all the other human rights victims in the Philippines," states a press release for the vigil. "The U.S. taxpayers do not want to support corrupt foreign governments: Demand justice for the Philippines and stop funding the Philippine military!
"We ask you to join us for this time of sharing and prayer."
For more information contact Lindsey Kerr, USA-Philippines Ecumenical Advocacy Network Coordinator, at email@example.com or 412.576.5763, or visit www.usapan.wordpress.com.