Peace Advocates for Truth, Healing & Justice (PATH) was formally organized in 2002, pioneering in its focus on human rights violations by a non-state armed group. Composed of torture survivors, families, relatives and friends of victims missing or executed during the anti-infiltration campaigns within the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) in the 1980s, PATH seeks truth and justice from the CPP-NPA and other Left blocs involved in the anti-infiltration campaigns.
PATH believes that all non-state armed groups, including those not from the Left movement, should observe human rights in the conduct of their resistance against the State. Ultimately, PATH holds the State accountable as well for the purges, and for military atrocities during martial law and throughout successive administrations.
Goals & Objectives
PATH's goals and objectives are as follows:
1. Complete the documents of the cases of all victims during the purges and all those involved.
2. Organize a national community of human rights defenders and advocates composed of survivors, families, relatives and friends of victims during the purges.
3. Facilitate the healing of survivors as well as the families, relatives and friends of purge victims.
4. Conduct exhumations so that victims are given due respect and proper burial.
5. Conduct a comprehensive advocacy work. Its main components will be public information and campaign, solidarity-building and lobbying at the local, national and international levels.
6. Deepen and popularize the culture of human rights through artistic and popular education, productions and other cultural endeavors.
7. Come up with case studies of country experiences on the setting up of Truth and Justice Commissions and strive for the creation of a Truth and Justice Commission in the country together with other human rights organizations and individual human rights advocates.
Research & Documentation. Documents stories and produces a database of victims in aid of locating burial sites; conducts research to surface facts and circumstances of the purges; publishes materials as tools for justice campaigns; ensures confidentiality and security of records and files.
Recovery of Victims' Remains. In cooperation with the victims' kin, locates gravesites, retrieves the remains and arranges their proper burial; mobilizes the services of forensic experts and other professionals; initiates dialogues with the victims' families as well as with perpetrators.
Counseling & Therapy. Facilitates healing sessions that address the long-term trauma of surivivors and victims families; mobilizes professionals in the fields of psychology and psychiatry; builds support groups for victims and their families towards eventual closure.
Communications & Popular Education. Develops education programs, including theoretical materials and tools for reflection, that revolve around human rights and respect for human dignity; holds commemoration activities and builds memorials for the victims; develops external communications through publications and mass media.
Legal & Security. Leads in the initiation and pursuance of legal actions for victims; assist in the handling and protection of material evidence in coordination with the RVR Committee; conducts research on the possibilities of a Truth Commission; studies the implications of PATH's work on the peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the CPP-NPA-NDF; and ensures lines with established institutions that will help strengthen PATH;
Arts & Culture. Produces musical compositions, literary works, plays, video documentaries, films, and other cultural works from the stories of survivors and victims.
Organizing & Advocacy. Reaches out to survivors and victims' families in different regions and encourages solidarity in their journey towards justice and healing.
Congress Should Restore Detainees’ Access to Courts
(Washington, DC, January 5, 2007) – As the fifth anniversary of the Guantanamo Bay detention center approaches, Human Rights Watch denounced the ongoing detentions there as a shameful blight on US respect for human rights. Human Rights Watch called on the Bush administration to bring criminal charges or release the nearly 400 detainees, and restore their access to federal court.
" Detaining hundreds of men without charge at Guantanamo has been a legal and political debacle of historic proportions. It’s time to close Guantanamo. The Bush administration should either charge or release the detainees trapped in a nightmarish limbo. " Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch On January 11, 2002, the first 20 detainees in the “war on terror” arrived, hooded and shackled, at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Today, close to 400 men remain there without charge, unable to challenge the lawfulness of their detention before federal court. “Detaining hundreds of men without charge at Guantanamo has been a legal and political debacle of historic proportions,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “It’s time to close Guantanamo. The Bush administration should either charge or release the detainees trapped in a nightmarish limbo.” Since establishing the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, the Bush administration has sought to shroud it in secrecy and insulate its actions from judicial review. After the Supreme Court ruled that detainees could challenge the lawfulness of their detention in courts, the Bush administration pushed legislation through Congress that revokes that right. The same legislation strips detainees of the right to challenge their treatment, even if they have been tortured, and even after they have been released. “The first order of business for the new Congress should be to restore the detainees’ right to habeas corpus,” Roth said. “It’s a vital mechanism for preventing abuse of detainees and for protecting people who shouldn’t be in detention.” The administration has sought to justify its ongoing detentions at Guantanamo by labeling those held as “enemy combatants” without regard to the requirements of the laws of war. The Department of Defense claims it is giving the detainees basic due process rights through so-called Combatant Status Review Tribunals, cursory administrative hearings in which detainees can contest their designation as enemy combatants. However, these hearings do not even come close to anything like an independent judicial review: they are neither independent nor fair. In the Combatant Status Review Tribunals, the government relied extensively on secret classified evidence – putting the detainee in the impossible situation of rebutting evidence that he had never seen. In many cases, the detainee was never even told what specific activities he was accused of doing that would supposedly make him an “enemy combatant.” Coerced statements – even if obtained by torture – were admissible against the detainee and, like all of the government’s evidence, presumed to be “genuine and accurate.” And detainees could not be represented by lawyers, and in most cases were not able to produce any witnesses or evidence apart from their own statements. “If the US believes that these men have committed acts that legally justify detention, it is hard to understand why it is so fearful of meaningful and independent judicial review,” Roth said. Although they have been labeled “combatants,” most of the detainees were picked up far from any battlefield. According to the Pentagon’s own records, the US has not even accused the vast majority of them of carrying a weapon or fighting US or coalition forces. Hundreds of the detainees were sold to the US by bounty hunters or turned over by rival clan members, while high-level Taliban and al Qaeda operatives with the resources to buy their freedom got away. Detainees include: men who were arrested in Bosnia and have been cleared of wrongdoing by Bosnian courts; an Afghan who opposed the Taliban and joined the transitional government but was turned over to US forces by a rival clan; and more than a dozen Chinese Uighurs who have been slated for release but cannot be returned to China because they will likely be tortured. They have nowhere else to go and have been refused asylum in the US. The Bush administration claims it plans to charge up to 70 of the Guantanamo detainees in the military commissions authorized by Congress in October 2006. That leaves more than 300 men still held in Guantanamo without charge and without any clear explanation of what they are accused of doing. Many should have been released long ago under the laws of armed conflict. “Not a single one of the allegedly high-level terrorists has been brought to trial for his crimes,” Roth said. “The victims of September 11 and the American public deserve to see justice done.”
Peace Advocates for Truth, Healing and Justice (PATH) 45 Matimtiman St., cor. Magiting St., Teachers' Village East Quezon City 1101, Philippines Tel. No: (632) 921-8049 Telefax: (632) 926-2893
You can also donate to PATH by clicking on the ads below
The book about the CPP-NPA Purges
"Bobby Garcia provides a riveting account of the Communist Party of the Philippines' "killing fields" and situates it within the context of a revolutionary movement that was nobly motivated but also tragically flawed. To Suffer Thy Comrades goes beyond Garcia's narrative of his and other survivors' harrowing experiences and explains why the purges took place, how both torturers and victims coped and made sense of their plight, and how they survived in the aftermath of the purge. The book sheds light on the darkest and deepest secrets of the revolutionary movement and provides insights that are useful now that the communists are negotiating peace with the government" - SHEILA CORONEL, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism
"...Bobby Garcia had the courage to write about the 'killing fields' despite some people's efforts to dissuade him. Bobby was one of its victims -- he was 21 when his entire future was nearly taken away from him -- who was lucky enough to survive. And who is even luckier to retain a huge sense of humor and equanimity, even when talking about his ordeal, at least with friends. His book is called "To Suffer Thy Comrades"...It is certainly not something that will set your mind at rest. But read it anyway. Its virtue is to be found in that biblical observation, 'The truth shall set you free.' - CONRADO DE QUIROS, Philippine Daily Inquirer