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Date Posted: 02:49:45 04/04/06 Tue
Author: CAFCA
Subject: Visit Ka Bel in prison, New Zealand ambassador urged

NEWS RELEASE
March 31, 2006

Visit Ka Bel in prison, New Zealand ambassador urged

New Zealanders outraged over the continuing illegal detention of
Anakpawis Congressman Crispin Beltran have written to their
ambassador in the Philippines, requesting that he personally visit
the 73-year old solon currently detained at the Philippine National
Police (PNP) General Hospital in Camp Crame.

In a letter to New Zealand Ambassador to the Philippines Robert
Moore-Jones, Murray Hurton, Secretary of the Philippines Solidarity
Network of Aotearoa (PSNA) of Christchurch, New Zealand expressed
appreciation that New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark "responded
positively to the urgent request from ourselves and numerous others,
and personally raised the issue with President Macapagal-Arroyo of
the systematic violation of human rights that arose from her
imposition of the State of National Emergency in February".

Prime Minister Clark visited the Philippines last March 13.

"Ms Clark's visit to the Philippines this month coincidentally
provided a once in 20 years opportunity for a New Zealand Prime
Minister to personally tell a Philippine President that this country
cares about the systematic human rights violations in that country.
New Zealand has an obligation to keep up the pressure on the
Philippine government to restore and respect the human rights of its
long suffering people," Hurton said in the letter, a copy of which
was furnished to the office of Congressman Beltran today.

Hurton also exhorted Moore-Jones to pay a personal visit to Cong.
Beltran as a gesture of solidarity.

"We urge you to personally visit Representative Beltran in prison to
make it clear that New Zealand cares for his welfare, and that the
Embassy has a monitor in court at any hearings of charges against him
and those facing similar charges," Hurton requested to Moore-Jones.

"This action would be a logical progression from NZAID co-sponsoring
the United Nations Development Agency's 2005 Human Rights Report on
the Philippines, which came complete with an Introduction from the NZ
Ambassador, saying that New Zealand cares about human rights in the
Philippines," Hurton stressed.

"We urge you to call upon the Philippines to release Congressman
Crispin Beltran and the other political prisoners seized during the
State of Emergency, and that the threat of arrest be lifted from the
five other Party List Representatives currently besieged in the
sanctuary of Congress," Hurton said.

Despite his humble origins, Beltran came to be an
internationally-known labor leader and activist, as the former
Chairperson of the International League of Peoples' Struggles (ILPS).
He is known in at least 83 countries and in international
multi-lateral organizations such as the International Labor
Organization (ILO) and the United Nations.

Cong. Beltran's wife Rosario, expressed hopes that Ambassador
Moore-Jones would acknowledge the PSNA's request and pay a formal
visit to Cong. Beltran at the Room 1 of the PNP General Hospital. ###

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