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Letters to Jose Maria Sison





10-14 November 2004
Eindhoven, The Netherlands

Workshop #16

Rights and Welfare of Homeless Persons, Refugees and Migrant Workers Displaced by Imperialism and Local Reactionaries


Prof. Jose Maria Sison, is a distinguished and well-known professor, freedom fighter, human rights defender, political activist, political detainee from 1977-1986, prolific writer, poet and revolutionary.

He is also the Chief Political Consultant of the National Democratic Front in the Philippines (NDFP) in the peace negotiations with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) for more than 15 years. As such, Prof. Sison has been directly involved in promoting peace negotiations which have resulted in 12 peace agreements between the NDFP and the GRP.

Prof. Sison was forced to apply for asylum and refugee status in the Netherlands in 1988, when the Philippine government then under Pres. Corazon Aquino, stashed away his passport and suppressed his rights. Since then, what started out as a legal battle for his asylum case, has grown to be a political issue among conspiring governments led by the US that wanted to suppress his democratic rights and crush the growing Philippine revolutionary movement inspired by him.

Prof. Sison’s application for refugee status was approved by the Raad van State (Council of State, the highest administrative court) in 1992 and 1995. The Alien’s Court and the Law Unity Chamber also did so in 1996 and 1997. As such, he enjoys the right of refoulement under the 1957 Refugee Convention. He also enjoys the protection of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits the return of an asylum seeker to his country of origin where he/she is likely to be tortured or subjected to inhumane and degrading treatment.

The Dutch justice ministry conceded to the decisions of the Dutch courts but argued that recognition does not mean admission as refugee to the Netherlands.

Hence, the Legal Unity Chamber in 1997 agreed with the Dutch justice ministry on this hairsplitting issue of recognition vis-à-vis admission as refugee, thereby creating an impediment on Prof. Sison’s status.

Prof. Sison consequently filed an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in early 1998 on the grounds that when a person enjoys the protection
Of Article 3 of the European Convention, he is entitled to the protection of the entire European Convention – meaning, the right of residence, right to work, family reunion, etc.

Then the global “war on terror” was instigated by US and its reactionary allies. The U.S., without factual basis and without any due process, designated Prof. Sison as a terrorist in August 2002. The Dutch and British governments and the Council of the European Union followed suit in order to take punitive actions against him shortly thereafter.

Until now, the battle continues. The attack on the democratic rights of Professor Sison is also an attack on the progressive movement around the world. He not only represents the national liberation struggle and movement in the Philippines that the US and its local puppets could not defeat. He is an important symbol of the surging anti-imperialist movement and struggle in the world today.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, and in full support of an earlier resolution adopted
by the Workshop Concern on Migrants, Refugees and Displaced People of the Founding Assembly of the International League of Peoples Struggle (ILPS) in May 2001, and the Special Resolution on the Defense of the Rights of Prof. Sison adopted by the International Migrant Conference (IMC) in Nov. 2001 in Manila,


1. Actively support and participate in the campaign for the defense of the rights of Prof. Jose Maria Sison through the following:
• Organize a DEFEND JMS group in your respective countries or cities.
• Launching information drive to popularize his issue and gather support.
• Circulating petitions and getting signatures in support of his defense campaign.
• Get the support of influential people, even within the government and parliament, and lobby to support his campaign.
• Gather material, financial and political support for his defense.

2. Work for and call on governments to delist Prof. Sison in the terrorist list of the US and its conspiring reactionary states and puppet regimes.

3. Work for and call on the Dutch government to grant Prof. Jose Maria Sison asylum and refugee status.

4. Promote and strengthen anti-imperialist solidarity relations and cooperation in the ILPS, and with progressive individuals, organizations and institutions. Pursue common strategies of resistance and courses of action in the fight for the rights of political refugees and asylum seekers in general.

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