Karapatan submits report on rights violation under martial law in Mindanao to UN experts
An activist holds a placard denouncing martial law during a rally held in Manila after the Supreme Court upheld President Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao.
AP, file
Karapatan submits report on rights violation under martial law in Mindanao to UN experts
Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) - May 22, 2018 - 11:44am

MANILA, Philippines — Rights group Karapatan on Tuesday submitted a report to United Nations independent experts on the alleged civil and political rights violations during the year-long imposition of martial law in Mindanao.

Karapatan called on the UN experts and local officials to conduct an independent investigation into the rights violations and lift the martial law in the southern Philippines.

“The report outlines how the Duterte administration, through its brand of war-on-terror with the imposition and extension of martial law in Mindanao and the continuing implementation of government’s counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan, has promoted state terrorism and violence in the southern Philippines,” Karapatan said.

President Rodrigo Duterte on May 23, 2017 declared martial law in Mindanao in response to clashes in Marawi City. It has been extended until Dec. 31, 2018 after majority of members of Congress approved the chief executive’s request.

The rights advocate group has documented at least 49 victims of extrajudicial killings in Mindanao, noting that most of the casualties are indigenous peoples and members of local peasant organizations.

It added that there were 22 cases of torture, 116 victims of frustrated extrajudicial killings, 89 victims of illegal arrest and detention and 336,124 victims of indiscriminate gunfire and aerial bombings.

At least 404,654 individuals have been reportedly displaced largely because of these bombings.

“Many more reported cases reveal a much graver magnitude of the effects of martial law. The dangers of ensuring security in travelling across the area prevent news gatherers and documenters from looking into field conditions so as to fully report on the human rights situation,” Karapatan said.

The letters were sent to special rapporteurs on extrajudicial killings Agnes Callamard, on the situation of rights defenders Michel Forst, on the rights of indigenous peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, on the human rights of internally displaced persons Cecilia Jimenez, on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly Clement Voule, on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression David Kaye and Seong-Phil Hong, the chair of Rapporteur Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

Copies were also furnished to Commission on Human Rights Chairman Chito Gascon and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello, who also heads the negotiating panel of the government. 

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