Jesuit priest, HRW official to speak on Duterte’s anti-drug war on Jan 22

Human Rights Watch’s Phelim Kine; Fr. Albert Alejo

Human Rights Watch’s Phelim Kine; Fr. Albert Alejo

In the wake of the reloading of Tok-hang, the Philippine “anti-drug war” which has resulted thus far in some 20,000 killings, the Fil-Am Press Club of New York will hold a forum featuring activist priest-scholar Fr. Albert Alejo, SJ, and Human Rights Watch Asia Division Deputy Director Phelim Kine.

The Kapihan event will be on January 22nd, 6 p.m., at the National Writers Union, 256 West 38th St. 12th fl. The subject of the presentations will be “How To Protect Human Rights In The Philippines.”

Fr. Albert Alejo has long been involved in humanitarian issues from his base in the southern island of Mindanao – and because humanitarian issues are often political issues, the priest has had his share of controversy. He was a member of the government team negotiation for peace with the National Democratic Front/Communist Party of the Philippines, a project team leader of Dialogue Mindanao which focused on peace negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, and an advocate for the indigenous Lumad, as chief consultant for the project Strengthening Lumad Advocacy In Government. Because he writes poetry, Fr. Alejo was also a member of the National Literary Arts Council of the National Commission on Arts and Letters. During the congressional hearing on the Davao Death Squad, Fr. Alejo provided support to two former DDS members-turned-witness during the investigations into some 1000 killed in Davao City.

Fr. Alejo holds a Master’s degree in Philosophy, a Master’s in Theology, and Master’s and Doctorate degrees in Social Anthropology from SOAS University of London, the leading institution for the study of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. He is currently a visiting professor of ethnography at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

The second speaker, Phelim Kine, is deputy director of the Asia Division of the Human Rights Watch, which issued the report on the killing of more than a thousand, including street children, in Davao City, during the tenure of Duterte as mayor. Kine was a journalist for a decade, covering China, Indonesia, Taiwan and Cambodia. His reports have appeared in major publications all over the world. Because of his office’s monitoring of human rights violations in the Philippines, Kine has threats to his person even from the Philippine president.

Lawyer Olivia Canlas, who is the National Education Director of AF3IRM, will be a panel responder.

Extrajudicial killings and human rights violations have become components of the Philippine government’s “War on Drugs” with President Duterte declaring his willingness to “slaughter” a claimed three million meth addicts. Thus far, by police official statistics, some 20,000 have been killed – roughly 3,000 from police operations; the rest by unidentified assassins.

Human Rights Watch and AF3IRM are participating in this event. Please reserve your seat as soon as possible as space is limited. Your reservation will have to be confirmed by the event organizers. Please RSVP through the FB event page. Here’s a link:

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