Posted by: kawagib | August 23, 2008

Moro Human Rights Group condemns US troops participation in military offensives

Cotabato City– KAWAGIB moro human rights group here condemn us troops’ intervention and participation in military offensives against MILF. On August 17, reporters team saw 4 US soldiers joining filipino soldiers in search of unexploded dumb bombs dropped from OV-10 Broncos in Barangay Baliki, Midsayap resulting to massive displacement of civilians.

US troops staying in the country under the Visiting Forces Agreement are involved in cases of human rights violation. Early this year on February 04, 4 US soldiers participated in the military operation which massacred a community of fisherfolks in a community in Brgy. Ipil, Maimbung, Sulu killing 8 civilians including 4 children and a woman pregnant. Last year, Corporal Daniel Smith was found guilty in raping a Filipino woman Nicole in Subic on November 2007.

The mere presence of the American troops in areas affected by armed conflict and its participation on the military offensives is a violation to the Philippine Constitution while they remained unaccountable for the human rights violations they committed.

US Ambassador Kristie Kenney is only lying when she said that US government is committed in helping the Mindanaons to attain peace. US is backing the government in fast-tracking “peace package” in Mindanao to ensure its economic and political interest is secured. Everything is only a propaganda because US is of no interest in helping the Bangsamoro people attain its right to self-determination and govern its natural resources.

Exxon-mobil, American-based oil company already singed an agreement with the government to explore oil in Sulu Sea . At the expense of people’s lives, the US-Arroyo will continue to push its own agenda for political and economic survival.

The use of Barangay Halls and Day Care Centers in Barangay Dalingaoen in Pikit by military should also be investigated because this is a violation of the International Humanitarian Law. Military also occupied houses of civilians in Pikit forcing civilians to evacuate. The indiscriminate aerial bombing and shelling of 105mm mortars in Datu Piang, Maguindanao wounded 4 civilians and killed a 5 year old child.

We are challenging the legislators to call the attention of US to stop its military intervention. We also challenge Mrs. Arroyo to pull-out its troops in Maguindanao and North Cotabato and stop its military offensives if she is true in resolving conflict.

The GRP and MILF should resume peace talks and investigate whoever violated ceasefire agreement and human rights so that the around 200,000 displaced civilians in conflict affected areas could go back to their communities.

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