Youth and Students Demand the Immediate Release of UP Students Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan sign now

UNITY STATEMENT
YOUTH AND STUDENTS DEMAND THE IMMEDIATE RELEASE OF SHERLYN CADAPAN AND KAREN EMPEСO


WE, YOUTH AND STUDENTS from different colleges, universities, organizations, communities and individuals, demand the immediate release of our fellow youth Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeсo from the University of the Philippines.

On June 26, 2006, bonnet-wearing armed men, suspected elements of the 7th Infantry Division, forcibly entered a house of local folk in Hagonoy, Bulacan and forcibly abducted Sherlyn, Karen and Manuel Merino, a local farmer. The armed men introduced themselves as vigilantes.

Sherlyn, who is two months pregnant, was hit in the stomach as she was shouting for help. Witnesses related that the armed men removed Karens shirt and used it to cover her face. They dragged the two women outside and rode off in a passenger jeepney vehicle.

Until now, Sherlyn and Karen have not yet surfaced. While the military denied their involvement in their forced disappearance, Major Gen. Jovito Palparan, head of the 7th ID, immediately accused them as members of the New Peoples Army. In a statement released after the abduction, Gen. Palparan insultingly said that they are better off gone.

Sherlyn and Karen are student volunteers who went to Bulacan to conduct research on the peasant situation in the province. They are also known student leaders from UP.

Sherlyn is an award-winning triathlete and a former College of Human Kinetics representative to the UP Diliman Student Council. Karen, on the other hand, is a Sociology major who was conducting reaserch in the province for the completion of her thesis. They are also active members of Anakbayan and League of Filipino Students, respectively. These youth organizations have been maliciously tagged as communist front organizations by the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Karen and Sherlyn are the latest youth victims of the Arroyo governments hysteria, violence and policy of state terror. In its desperation to remain in power, the Arroyo government has unleashed a wave of terror to eliminate and persecute its enemies. Arroyos dictator-like rule has claimed 692 victims of extrajudicial killings, 179 forced disappearances and hundreds of other human rights violations, the worst after the dark days of Martial Law.

Oplan Bantay Laya, Arroyos counter-insurgency program, blatantly makes no distinction between the armed revolutionary movement and the legal democratic organizations, making them all vulnerable to human rights violations.

We hereby demand that Sherlyn, Karen and all victims of forced disappearances and illegal abductions immediately be resurfaced, and the abductors release them unharmed. We strongly call for an end to the extrajudicial killings by the militarys death squads.
We condemn and hold the Arroyo government and the military accountable for the numerous human rights violations against the Filipino people. End the senseless bloodshed! ###

Stop the killings and forced disappearances! Justice for all victims of human rights violations! Stop the all-out war of the Arroyo regime!


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Erika FisherBy:
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Fellow youth and students

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