Petition 80258

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Statement Against Extra-Judicial Killings in the Philippines (80258-C1-R9999)

Add the following new resolution to The Book of Resolutions:

WHEREAS, since 2001, Karapatan, a human rights advocacy group in Southeast Asia, tallied more than 800 people killed extra-judicially. This number is increasing, and killings pose a threat to both Filipinos and other nationalities visiting the Philippines. UMC young people appeal to the government to take action on this human rights violation; and

WHEREAS, Matthew 23:37-39 says, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones who are sent to it! See, your house is left to you, desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord’”; and

WHEREAS, human rights are in danger in the Philippines, and the image of God in every person is being assaulted in many ways, including God’s servants—bishops; pastors; deaconesses; and women, men and youth lay leaders. These prophet servants of God have preached, with costly discipleship, the Good News to the poor, deprived, and marginalized peoples of the Philippines; and
WHEREAS, the recent and ongoing summary and extra-judicial killings—outright execution of people outside of the judicial process—in the Philippines is an affront to the rights and dignity of peoples. International human rights law, to which the Philippines subscribe, prohibits these kinds of killings. United Methodist social and biblical teachings found in our Social Principles and Book of Resolutions consider the “mistreatment...of persons by governments for any purpose, violates Christian teaching and must be condemned and/or opposed”; and  
WHEREAS, respectable human rights organizations, including ecumenical bodies and our own church, local and international, have reported on the rampancy and brutality of these killings under the government of Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. All such reports point to an unacceptable level of impunity with which such killings have been conducted. These reports point to the involvement of government security forces—police and military—in these killings and human rights violations; and
WHEREAS, the failure of government to protect its people and to fairly investigate these killings and human rights violations unjustly encourage impunity and the unnecessary shedding of even more blood and the sacrifice of even more precious lives. To date, these killings total some 869 from all sectors, including 23 from the religious community which counts former United Methodist pastor Isaias Sta. Rosa of the Davao Episcopal Area.
WHEREAS, the Connectional Table of The United Methodist Church, in cooperation with several general agencies of the church, in its January 2006 visit to the Philippines has joined the worldwide chorus of calls to “stop the killings.” It is a call issued to the  
Philippine government, whose prime duty is the protection of the rights and welfare of its people, to impartially and thoroughly investigate and end these killings and violations. It is also a call for the United States government to rethink its foreign policy toward the Philippines, given its historical colonial and contemporary relations to the Philippines, including economic, political, cultural, and military relations. The United States and other governments and international agencies like the United Nations, European Union, and African Union may exert their influence so that the killings and violations are stopped,
Therefore, be it resolved that as socially responsible young people of The United Methodist Church we are called to respond to social injustices in our society. As in the many wars and conflicts and human rights violations now committed worldwide, the toll on the lives and psyches of young people is very high and unnecessary. But it is stoppable, and we must help to stop them in the Philippines, and in other places where they happen. Human rights violations in the Philippines threaten human rights everywhere.
Therefore, be it further resolved that as United Methodist young people, we commit to pray for the Filipinos as they disciple among their people and call them to fidelity to our Lord Jesus Christ’s imperatives for love, compassion, justice, and peace. Our solidarity and companionship with fellow United Methodists in the Philippines will add courage and hope to them and their people as they bear witness to God’s gift of life and struggle against death-dealing forces.
Finally, be it resolved that using the resources available to us as a global connectional church, we will involve ourselves on this issue, guided by our brothers and sisters in the Methodist family in the Philippines and other ecumenical and interreligious bodies that are already in ministries of peace and restorative justice there. We will pray and work with the United Methodist Youth and the Young Adult Fellowships in the Philippines in their ministries on this concern. Specifically, we suggest that awareness raising on this issue be intensified across the connection, including, if possible, fact-finding missions to the Philippines that include young peoples.