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DoJ chief tagged a ‘racist’ over South Asian profiling order November 29, 2006

Posted by C.A.R.D in Card, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, Indian, Racism, Racist.

ACTIVISTS who will hold their own activities parallel to the 12th ASEAN Summit in Cebu City have called Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez a “racist” over his instructions to profile citizens from South Asia.

Milo Tanchuling, secretary general of the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC), which is part of the 2nd ASEAN Civil Society Conference, told INQ7.net in a phone interview on Monday: “It is embarrassing for a DoJ [Department of Justice] secretary to make such uncivilized comments [on feeding activists to sharks]. He does not understand civil society’s role in trying to bring forth the people’s issues in a forum as limited as the ASEAN. His statement on South Asians, identifying them as terrorists, is simply racist.”

Gonzalez had instructed the Bureau of Immigration to strictly monitor and profile all Pakistanis, Afghans, and Indian nationals.

Tanchuling said an image of ASEAN as a “club of dictators” would only worsen with Gonzalez’s statement. “Where is the ‘caring and sharing’ in his commentary?” he asked, referring to the theme of the regional bloc meeting this year. “For a group who claims to espouse democratic principles, they should hear the voice of the people.”

“We were allowed to do [hold parallel forums] last year in Kuala Lumpur when Malaysia chaired the ASEAN. We were given 15 minutes to address the assembly last year. That was quite a development, however limited. In this summit, we want the voice of the 500 million Southeast Asians heard, especially in the formulation of the framework for an ASEAN charter,” he added.

Tanchuling, co-convenor in the People’s Week Challenging ASEAN group, said he and fellow local and international activists would conduct their own seminars, public forums, and conference from December 10 to 12, with a scheduled public demonstration only on December 13. He said debt and privatization would be among the issues to be highlighted in their activities.

“We are especially worried with the presence of Pascal Lamy [director general of the World Trade Organization]. He may use the venue to pressure ASEAN member-countries to help in the revival on the talks of world liberalization,” he said.

Tanchuling said the Philippines and Indonesia took the leadership position for the Group of 33 developing countries who are naturally protective of their economies, in the light of the continued subsidies that developed countries have on their agriculture sector.

The FDC official said more than 100 activists from 30 organizations within and outside the Philippines would be expected to participate in their activities.

The militant group Bayan, which is preparing various protest actions in Cebu, called Gonzalez a “small town thug” for his shark remarks.

“Gonzalez and [President Gloria Macapagal-] Arroyo are the ones putting the country to shame by showing the world that democracy in the Philippines is a sham. The regime itself is a big embarrassment already,” said Renato Reyes, secretary general of the militant group Bayan.

C.a.r.d {Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination} Source: Inquirer.net

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