The Philippines: Australian human rights defender blacklisted, detained at Manila airport

August 8, 2018

Australian law professor and a long-time human rights advocate on the Philippines Gill Boehringer is being held by the Bureau of Immigration at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 in Pasay City since 12 midnight of August 8 upon his arrival from Sydney, Australia, according to an urgent action alert by human rights alliance Karapatan.

Beohringer, 84, was refused entry to the Philippines. He was told by immigration officers that he will be deported and that he is in the agency’s blacklist due to his alleged participation in a rally in the Philippines.

Boehringer, married to a Filipina, has frequently travelled to the Philippines. He has been actively campaigning for human rights issues in the Philippines since the Arroyo presidency.

In a statement, Karapatan deplored “the continuing spate of harassment against human rights defenders like Prof. Boehringer who are being harassed and intimidated, for conducting human rights advocacy and international solidarity for victims of rights violations in the Philippines.”

The human rights alliance called on immigration authorities to respect the rights of Boehringer, including his right to due process and to have access to his family, lawyers and doctors, and his rights as a human rights defender.

The Supreme Bishop of Iglesia Filipina Independiente, Rhee Timbang, also called on the authorities to release Boehringer immediately. Timbang said Boehringer joined their international fact finding mission in Lianga and their pastoral Work with the lumad evacuees in Tandag City in 2015 and 2016.

“His detention is another case of repressive actions by the present government against people, from domestic and international community, who support the lumad people in their struggle for self-determination and for the protection of ancestral lands,” Timbang said in his Facebook post. “In no way this cannot help improve the image of the Philippines before the international community for having alarming high record of human rights violations.”–spt.html

Click to access Boehringer.pdf



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Because of the persistence of Prof. Boehringer and his lawyers from the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) in asserting his right to due process and against his deportation due to medical reasons, Prof. Boehringer has not been deported yet. He is still at the NAIA Terminal 1 in Pasay City.
His attending doctor, Dr. Geneve Rivera-Reyes of the Health Action for Human Rights (HAHR), has issued and sent to BI authorities copies of Boehringer’s medical certificate that he is unfit to travel, considering his present medical condition, the risk of developing deep vein thrombosis that could lead to another embolic episode, and his age. Dr. Rivera-Reyes also highly recommended that he be seen by a medical specialist at a hospital with adequate medical facilities to ensure his good health and safety.
With Dr. Rivera-Reyes’ recommendation, NUPL, representing Boehringer, sent a letter to BI Commissioner Jaime Morente seeking the recall of the exclusion order against Boehringer to enable his medical check-up and recuperation until he is fit to travel. NUPL also stated in their letter that they will assist Boehringer in responding to the charges against their client as soon as they receive documents pertinent to his case. As of this writing, NUPL has yet to receive the necessary documents stipulating the bases of the reported blacklist order against the Australian law professor, as well as the written reply on their letter this morning to Morente.
Tomorrow, it is expected that the BI will once again pursue Boehringer’s deportation. His lawyers will continue to assert his rights despite the BI’s continuing attempts to persecute human rights defenders like him.

(KARAPATAN Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights Facebook, 9/8/18)

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Protest in front of Philippines Consulate, Sydney, August 10th (Facebook).

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