NZ rights lawyer to join protests at ASEAN summit


A human rights lawyer from New Zealand was able to get into the country to take part in protest actions at the ASEAN Summit in Cebu starting Sunday, ANC's The World Tonight reported Thursday.

“I would rather be called a terrorist than be cowed into silence,” said Jane Kelsey of the Action Research and Education Network who flew into Cebu to add her voice to the anti-ASEAN protests.

Kelsey feels the summit is focusing too much on broad economic and political issues and neglecting the plight of laborers and small workers.

She said she was fortunate that she was able to enter the country and take part in protests, unlike American human rights lawyer Brian Campbell who was denied entry at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Tuesday night and forced to return to Hong Kong and then the United States.

Campbell was prevented from entering the country Tuesday night upon a directive from the Department of Justice. The Bureau of Immigration, however, is not in a position to say if the exclusion has anything to do with the ASEAN summit.

In a statement, Immigration commissioner Alipio Fernandez says Campbell was prevented from entering the country because of a Justice department directive. The American lawyer was blacklisted by DOJ.

Human rights advocates who gathered in Cebu said they will continue their activities to denounce the ASEAN summit. They said marginalized sectors must have a voice in the international gathering.