I was planning to do a post on this topic, but I just can't. Go and read this, and this, and this, and this, and then try telling me that Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo - who has been blamed by the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions for abandoning the peace process with her country's rebel groups and letting loose the military to kill with impunity - is someone we should be welcoming, someone who should be shaking our Prime Minister's hand.
The news that Dennis Maga, a Filipino trade unionist who has been speaking in New Zealand to highlight human rights abuses in his country, may face arrest and assassination if he returns home, is just icing on the cake. While not a crime, advocating for human rights in the Philippines now carries a death penalty.
While I think the New Zealand government's offer of human rights assistance is a positive step, it ignores the Philippines government's role in perpetrating these abuses and suppressing its critics. that is something which deserves condemntation and isolation, not praise.
Update: The Philippines government has now given the New Zealand government an assurance that Maga will not be arrested. We should make sure we hold them to it.