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Philippines president praises military for better rights response

[JURIST] Philippines President Gloria Arroyo [official website; BBC profile] lauded the Philippine military for working to improve human rights during a speech Friday, but human rights activists say that the armed forces continue to engage in extrajudicial killings. Human rights advocates say almost 900 people have been killed since Arroyo assumed power in 2001, while more than 180 have disappeared and are thought to have been killed. The military has denied any involvement in the killings, blaming the deaths on Communist rebels. Reuters has more.

Last month, UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Philip Alston released a report [DOC text; JURIST report] that said the Philippines armed forces have followed a "deliberate strategy" of killing left-wing activists. In July, Arroyo urged lawmakers [transcript; JURIST report] from both houses of Congress to pass legislation to curb extrajudicial killings and disappearances, but rights groups have said she has not fulfilled her promise to fully investigate the killings.

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