Urgent Request: On the Killing of Dutch NGO leader Willem Geertman
July 6, 2012
July 4, 2012
Dear human rights advocates, We would like to request your solidarity in the effort to demand justice for Willem Geertman, Dutch NGO leader that was assassinated in the Philippines on July 3, 2012. Mr. Geertman is the 2nd foreigner to be killed during the first 2 years of President Aquino’s administration. Both victims were also doing anti-mining advocacy. The majority of human rights violations in the Philippines today are directly related to foreign mining operations and militarization.
We are asking human rights advocates to contact the Dutch Embassy within the next 48 hours. Please send emails and make calls over the next 48 hours.
1) Fill out the sample email. Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org, NID@the-netherlands.org, CC: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
2) Make a phone call: 1-877-388-2443 – After sending an email, make a phone call. Ask to speak with Chargés d’affaires Peter Mollema. 3) Please spread the word and be on standby for any further actions. JUSTICE FOR WILLEM GEERTMAN! JUSTICE FOR ALL VICTIMS OF EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS IN THE PHILIPPINES! END IMPUNITY! Enclosed is the sample letter (that can be used as your script) and a press statement from BAYAN Philippines regarding the assassination of Mr. Geertman. In solidarity, ________________________________________________________________________________
c/o Chargés d’affaires Peter Mollema 4200 Linnean Avenue NW Washington, DC 20008
E-mail NID@the-netherlands.org Info@dutchhelp.com 1-877-388-2443
Dear Mr. Peter Mollema Hello, my name ___________and I am a member of __________________. I am writing regarding the assassination of Willem Geertman, a Dutch NGO leader and missionary in the Philippines. I would like to ask your Embassy’s assistance in relaying my message of condolence to the family and loved ones of Mr. Geertman. It is heart-breaking to hear that Mr. Geertman’s life dedicated to serving the Filipino people has been ended so tragically. He had been serving as the Executive Director of the disaster relief NGO Alay Bayan Inc at the time of his death. Mr. Geertman is now the second foreigner to have been killed during President Aquino’s term, the first being an Italian missionary priest, Fr. Fausto Tentorio.
Both were also anti-mining activists, and I believe that they were targets of the Philippine government’s counter-insurgency operations, Oplan Bayanihan. These operations are targeting civilians and advocates for extra-judicial killings and other human rights violations. As your office may know, the Philippine government is currently under review by the United Nations Universal Periodic Review. Mr. Geertman’s death comes a month after the Philippine government was scrutinized by EU states regarding the extrajudicial killings, torture and enforced disappearances in the Philippines.
Last week, Human Rights Watch made the following statement: “President Benigno Aquino III of the Philippines has not fulfilled his promises to hold accountable the security forces responsible for serious abuses since taking office two years ago. The Aquino government has not successfully prosecuted a single case of extrajudicial killing or enforced disappearance, including those committed during his presidency.” I and many of my colleagues had the opportunity to join international solidarity activities with Mr. Geertman in 2011 in the Philippines, and I am deeply saddened and outraged that he has been murdered. I know that the Dutch government is aware of the political crisis and impunity in the Philippines, as many Filipino nationals have sought refuge in the Netherlands as political refugees. I hope that the Dutch government to call for a swift and thorough investigation and to demand justice for Willem Geertman.
On the killing of Dutch NGO worker and missionary Willem Geertman
Press Statement: Posted on 03 July 2012 by admin
Bayan condemns in the strongest terms the killing today of Dutch NGO worker and missionary Willem Geertman. Based on initial reports from Bayan Central Luzon, he was shot in front of his office between 12:20-1pm. An independent investigation by Bayan CL is still ongoing and we are awaiting the full report on the circumstances of Geertman’s death.
According news reports, Fred Villareal -a correspondent of Sun Star Pampanga and a witness to the killings- said “he was writing a story in the compound of the Alay Bayan at the L & S Subdivision when he saw two men enter the premises about 12:20 p.m”. “One of them pointed a gun at Geertman who struggled to pull the pistol away from him. The assailant, however, regained control of the gun and shot Geertman in the back,” Villareal was quoted in news reports. The gunman and his companion fled on a motorcycle, according to Villareal’s account. Geertman died in the emergency room of the nearby Sacred Heart Medical Center at 1:20 p.m., Villareal said.
Geertman is the Executive Director of disaster relief NGO Alay Bayan Inc and has resided in the Philippines for the past 46 years. He spoke fluent Filipino and has worked among poor farmers in rural communities. He is a known anti-mining advocate. We have worked with Willem on relief missions, particularly last year in Nueva Ecija and Aurora in the aftermath of typhoon Pedring. Alay Bayan facilitated the relief mission of the Bayanihan Alay sa Sambayanan (BALSA) led by Bayan and allied groups. Willem also attended the 4th International Assembly of the International League of Peoples Struggle in Rizal in July 2011.
Geertman is the second European NGO/community worker killed under the Aquino regime, after the death of Fr. Pops Tentorio in Mindanao. His death comes a month after the Philippine government appeared before the United Nations Universal Periodic Review in Geneva where it was grilled by EU states on the elimination of extrajudicial killings, torture and enforced disappearances in the Philippines. We call for a swift investigation and justice for the killing of Willem Geertman.