Victory: Detained Canadian student released, on flight back to Canada from Philippines

Kim Chatillon-Meunier
At 8:30 pm Manila time on Sunday, September 15 (8:30 am EST), Canadian student Kim Chatillon-Meunier was able to take her flight from Manila's NAIA Terminal 2 to Vancouver, Canada after being released from detention.

Kim was able to send a short text message from the plane: "Im on my flight, direct to vancouver with philippines airline :D I could never thank you enough for you help and I will always remeber it. People's lawyer and Karapatan were outstanding, you can count on my support." 

LATEST UPDATE: According to a text message from Émile Gauthier at 9:43 am EST, Monday, September 16, Kim had arrived safely at her home in Montréal, very tired but happy to be greeted by family and friends. Welcome back, Kim. Bienvenue chez toi, Kim!

On Sunday evening, September 15, 2013, Kim had stopped over at the Vancouver international airport on her way home to Montréal and was met by Jane Ordinario and other members of the group, Canada Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights.

This is excellent news and is the result of strong pressure put on the Philippines authorities by the human rights organization, KARAPATAN, assisted by lawyers from the National Union of Peoples' Lawyers (NUPL) and other Philippine organizations in concert with organizations and individuals in Canada and around the world. Particular kudos to Tinay Palabay (Karapatan) and Edre Olalia (NUPL) and their respective organizations for a job very well done.

Canadian government officials were also apparently in contact with Kim.

Kim's detention received top level media attention in the Philippines and in Canada (TV and radio reports in both French and English on CBC, CTV, etc.) and was accompanied by a barrage of letters, e-mails, and other messages to the Philippine government and Canadian government officials. The rapidity of the strong response served to force the release of Kim during the weekend and in the face of some Philippine government officials’ attempts to delay any response until offices opened on Monday.

Kim was primarily in the Philippines for her internship requirement at the Université de Montreal, Canada where she is a regular student. She was selected by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) to go into an internship program in the Philippines called ‘Students for Development’ sponsored and financed by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Kim was involved in the research and documentation of the reproductive health conditions of women in Tondo, Manila.

While in the Philippines, she was able to attend the International Conference on Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRPP) in July. She also joined the International Solidarity and Humanitarian Mission in Quezon Province, along with other foreign participants, shortly before the Conference.

We at the Centre d’appui aux Philippines - Centre for Philippine Concerns are very pleased for Kim, her family and loved ones here in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, who have been on a roller coaster ride of emotions since learning that Kim had been detained on September 13. She was imprisoned after she attempted to board a plane to return home for apparently attending a rally in the Philippines last July. This action, which eye witnesses report Kim only arrived at late and simply observed, was attended by over 15,000 people on July 22, 2013. Such rallies have become a regular occurrence during the yearly State of the Union Address (SONA) by the Philippine President, with the Filipino people using SONA to address their concerns for better working and living conditions to the Philippine government.

While naturally very pleased at this outcome we are also very concerned for all those involved, like Kim, in people-to-people exchanges between Canada and the Philippines. Many such people are now apparently being placed on Philippine government “watch lists” and “black lists”.

Is this an attempt by the Philippine government to say that all those like Kim who decide to go to the Philippines and work with and participate in the activities of the people, especially the poor, are no longer welcome in the Philippines? Such activities could involve being with the people as they execute their basic democratic right to protest or rally and call attention to mistakes or misjudgments on the part of the Philippine government.

We certainly hope this is not the Philippine government's intention. However, this is the second such incident over the past three months. The other involved a young Dutch citizen, Thomas Van Beersum, who was also detained when he tried to catch a plane out of Manila, to be subsequently “deported” and told he was on a “black list” and could never return to the Philippines. Van Beersum was accused of attending the same SONA rally that Kim and about 100 other international delegates from the ICHRPP were invited to observe.

We join with groups in the Philippines and organizations here in Canada such as KAIROS in requesting an immediate end to the use of such “watch lists” and “black lists”. We also trust that the Canadian government will register a strong protest to the Philippine government on its serious mistreatment of a Canadian citizen and its use of these lists.

We look forward to welcoming Kim back in Montreal along with her family and friends. We will certainly be marking this victory during the 30th anniversary celebrations of our Centre d'appui aux Philippines - Centre for Philippine Concerns at the Maison de l'amitié, 120 Duluth East, in Montreal, Quebec, next Saturday, September, 21, 2013. The celebration, getting underway at 7 pm with program at 8 pm, is open to all.


Joyce Valbuena

Malcolm Guy
Communications officer 

Centre d'appui aux Philippines - Centre for Philippine Concerns (Montréal)


CAP-CPC calls for immediate release of Canadian student in Philippines

September 13, 2013

H.E. Benigno C. Aquino III
President of the Republic
Malacañang Palace
JP Laurel St., San Miguel
Manila Philippines

Re: Immediate release of Kim Chatillon-Meunier

Dear President Aquino:

On behalf of the Centre for Philippine Concerns (Centre d’appui aux Philippines) in Montreal, Canada, we call on the Philippine Government to immediately release Kim Chatillon-Meunier, a 24-year old student from Montreal who is currently being detained by Bureau of Immigration (BI) officials at the BI detention center in Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, Taguig, Philippines.

According to immigration officials, Kim had been placed on a "watchlist" and is being held for allegedly participating in the State of the Nation Address (SONA) rally in July 2013. She was arrested at the airport as she was about to leave the country for Hong Kong on September 13, 2013 and was detained upon the order of BI Commissioner Siegfred Mison.

Kim Chatillon-Meunier, 24
Kim was in the Philippines as an intern from the international studies program of the University of Montreal, a project funded by the Canadian government. Her focus area of research and documentation has been the reproductive health conditions of women in poor communities in Tondo, Manila. Last July, Kim was a delegate to the International Conference on Human Rights in the Philippines and joined the international solidarity and humanitarian mission in Quezon Province prior to the conference.

Like many other Quebec students in the past, Kim has chosen to do her internship in the Philippines to learn from and share in the lives of the Filipino people, especially the poor and powerless. Is Kim’s arrest meant to instill fear and deter other internationalists from giving their support to the Filipino people’s struggle for basic rights and democratic freedoms? It certainly appears to be outright political harassment and a violation of the basic right to free expression. This detention is also reminiscent of the treatment of Dutch citizen Thomas van Beersum on his recent departure from the Philippines.

We are deeply concerned by these actions of the BI and the Philippine government and reiterate our call for Kim’s immediate release and her safe return home to Canada. We likewise request that such blacklists/watchlists be withdrawn or scrapped by the BI, as these are clearly tools for harassment and suppression of fundamental rights of those working to defend the human rights and basic dignity of the Filipino people.

We call on the Canadian government and its officials to apply the necessary diplomatic pressure on your government to ensure the immediate release of Kim Chatillon-Meunier and to deliver in the name of the Canadian people a strong statement of condemnation for this abuse and mistreatment of a Canadian citizen by Philippine officials.




30 ans de solidarité: une célébration - le 21 septembre à Montréal

Le samedi 21 Septembre 2013, le Centre d'appui aux Philippines (CAP-CPC) célèbrera son 30e anniversaire de fondation. Depuis 1983, notre organisation offre des occasions de discussion et d'échanges au sujet des injustices aux Philippines par son programme d' éducation publique, de recherche et de solidarité avec le mouvement du peuple philippin pour la démocratie nationale.

Vous êtes chaleureusement invité à participer à cette célébration le 21 Septembre à la Maison de l'amitié - 120 Duluth est à Montréal.  Ce sera une soirée passionnante nous permettant de revoir l'histoire riche du CAP depuis ses débuts, de partager des nouvelles sur les défis actuels des Philippines et l'état de ses mouvements populaires, et l'occasion de renouer des liens et de rencontrer les nouveaux membres. Le tout sera parsemées de présentations culturelles, bien entendu!

En tant qu'organisation de solidarité au Québec composés de Philippin-e-s- et non Philippin-e-s concernés par la situation de répression et d'exploitation aux Philippines, nous persistons à faire pression sur le gouvernement canadien en faveur des droits de l'homme aux Philippines. Nous continuons à poursuivre notre mission de fournir des lieux de discussion et d'échange à faire de l'éducation publique, de la recherche et à appuyer le mouvement philippin pour la démocratie nationale.

Nous avons hâte de vous voir à la soirée de célébration de notre 30ème anniversaire!

Veuillez contacter Joyce Valbuena (coordonnatrice) à joycevalbuena(at)yahoo.com ou Malcolm Guy à mguy(at)pmm.qc.ca pour plus d'informations et pour confirmer votre présence.


En solidarité,



30th anniversary celebrations of CAP-CPC on September 21, 2013

Dear CAP-CPC members and friends,

On Saturday, September 21, 2013, the Centre d’appui aux Philippines/Centre for Philippine Concerns/ (CAP-CPC) is celebrating its 30th founding anniversary. Since 1983, our organization has been providing venue for discussion and exchange regarding the injustices in the Philippines through public education, research and advocacy in support with the Filipino people's movement for National Democracy.

We invite you to join the celebration of our anniversary on September 21 at the Maison de l'amitié - 120 Duluth East in Montreal, Quebec. It will be a exciting night to look back at CPC since its beginning, updating ourselves about current Philippine issues, enjoy some cultural presentations, dance to the music, renew old ties and meet the new members.

Being a solidarity organization of Filipinos and non-Filipinos in Quebec who are concerned to end the situation of repression and exploitation in the Philippines, we still persist to apply public pressure on the Canadian government for human rights in the Philippines. We continue to carry on our mission of providing venue for discussion and exchange regarding the injustices in the Philippines through public education, research and advocacy in support with the Filipino people's movement for National Democracy.

We look forward to celebrating with you at the CAP-CPC 30th anniversary bash!

Please contact Joyce Valbuena (Coordinator) at joycevalbuena(at)yahoo.com or Malcolm Guy at mguy(at)pmm.qc.ca for more information and to confirm your attendance.


In solidarity,