More than 200 leaders of faith-based groups, unions and labor rights advocates, Filipino-American organizations and academics have written the US Congress to protest human rights abuses in the Philippines and the misuse of US foreign military assistance.
Among the signatories to the letter, which was sent to every member of the US Congress, were:
- Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, general secretary of the National Council of Churches USA
- Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church USA
- Rev. Gradye Parsons, stated clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA
- Rev. John H. Thomas, general minister and president of the United Church of Christ
- Rev. Dr. Sharon E. Watkins, general minister and president of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
- Barbara Shailor, director of the international department of the AFL-CIO
- Andy Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union
- John Hovis, president of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America
- Jeff Rechenbach, secretary-treasurer of the Communications Workers of America
- Jessica Rutter, strategic campaigner of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters
- Bama Athreya, executive director of the International Labor Rights Forum
- Bernadette Ellorin, secretary-general of Bayan USA;
- Dr. John Lloyd Ogilvie, former chaplain of the US Senate (1995-2003)
Rev. Larry Emery of the Community Presbyterian Church, said in an email that the signatories to the letter hope that “it will communicate to our nation’s leaders how important this issue is for such a wide spectrum of Americans”.
“We want Congress to know that ordinary Americans from every walk of life do not want to see America support the type of oppression and bloodshed that is being perpetuated by the Philippine military against its own people. Our goal is that US funding of the Philippine Military will stop unless they begin to meet certain human rights benchmarks as outlined in the letter,” said Emery.
Photo courtesy of the Architect of the Capitol