Posted by: kawagib | December 10, 2007

Arroyo is the bringer of death not peace to the Moro people

The Suara Bangsamoro and the Kawagib Moro Human Rights Organizaiton led the commemoration of the 59th year of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in different cities in Mindanao.

Suara Bangsamoro presented the Report on the Human Rights Violation committed against the Bangsamoro people in Cotabato City on December 4, Davao City on December 6 and on December 10 a simltaneous forum in Iligan City, Zamboanga City, and General Santos City.

According to Suara Bangsamoro, despite of the on-going peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the two Moro Liberation Fronts in Mindanao, there is still no atmosphere of peace in the Moro areas in Mindanao.  The combined anti-terror policies of the US government and the Philippine government give license for state agents to disregard the civil and political rights of the Moro people.

Suara Bangsamoro added that the Moro people continue to face a militarized community, most of them becoming more vulnerable with the deployment of massive government forces and foreign troops in their communities.  According to the Armed Forces of the Philippines, four brigades were deployed only in pursuit of “Muslim militants”, roughly more than ten thousand government troops are dispersed in the Moro communities.
 
Kawagib Moro Human Rights has documented at least 22 types of violations committed by the Philippine government against the Moro people. Foremost affected in the list is the 78,000 Moro persons who were displaced due to indicriminate bombings and strafings in their communities as a consequence of President Arroyo’s declaration of full-launch war in the Moro areas.  

According to Kawagib often Moro civilians are affected in the military operations against the Moro National Liberation Front and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.  Civilians, and a high number of children also fall prey to the hot pursuit operations against Abu Sayyaf and JI militants. Kawagib has documented several cases of  extrajudicial killing, death due to indiscriminate firing, frustrated killing, massacre, torture, physical assault or injuries as a consequence of the military operations.

The violation to the civil and political rights of the Moro people are often disregarded because of the impact of the “war on terror” on the views and opinions of the public on the Moro people.  There were several cases of illegal arrests, detention and search and siezure documented by Kawagib in their report on the violations on human rights of the Moro people. There was also a case of a victim being denied of medical attention and of decent burial and refusal to tender remains.  

Threat, harassment and intimidation on Moro activists and religious leaders were also part of the violations on the Moro people.  On December 10 last year, the names of Moro activists belonging to Suara Bangsamoro, Kawagib ang Liga ng Kabataang Moro were written in streamers displayed in the main roads and highways of Cotabato City and Midsayap, North Cotabato calling them terrorists and their organizations as communist fronts.

Religious leaders in Basilan and Sulu are often targetted as possible Abu Sayyaf or MILF members and sympathizers.  Fifteen ustadz (religious leaders) were included in the warrant of arrest issued last July against those who were suspected of beheading 10 element of Marines in Basilan.  

A leader of the Ulama Coucil for Peace and Development in Sulu, Ustadz Yahiya Sarahadil Abdulla, protested upon seeing his picture in a Rewards for Justice Recognition Handbook being distributed by Filipino and American troops in Talipao, Sulu.  His picture was used to identify Yassir Igasan, that according to intelligence reports was the chosen leader of the ASG after Khadaffy Janjalani’s death last year.

The leaders of the Moro National Liberation Front and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front were also tagged as local criminals as warrants of arrests were issued against them for the cases of unresolved bombings in Mindanao this year.  According to Suara Bangsamoro, implicating Ustadz Habier Malik of the MNLF and Al-Hajj Murad of the MILF is undermining the current peace negotiation and makes the people question the sincerity of the Arroyo administration in the peace talks.

Suara Bangsamoro laments the conditions of the Moro people and also added that the presence of foreign troops will worsen their conditions.  There is an undetermined number of US soldiers from the airforce, marines and the army doing a medical mission and other civic activities program in public but also involve themselves in covert combat operations that often affects the areas of the MNLF and the MILF.

Next year another round of Balikatan military exercises will resume in different parts of Moro provinces.  Added to this is the possible training of Australian troops as a commitment of the Arroyo administration in the Status of Forces Agreement it signed this year with the Australian Government.

Suara Bangsamoro lambasts the government form turning Moro communities into a den of live targets for the “war on terror” military exercises of local and foreign troops.  It also accuses the government of disregarding the lives of the Moro people and reiterates that her administration is no bringer of peace to the Moro community, only death.

Suara Bangsamoro and Kawagib joined the rest of the Filipino people in condemning the Arroyo administration and calling for her ouster as one means to stop the incessant attack on the rights of the Moro people.

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