Quote for the Week..

"Why are the country’s political leaders quick to act on amending the Constitution to change nationalistic provisions for the benefit of foreigners or to extend their terms of office but are allergic to amending the Constitution to address the people’s aspirations for self-determination?" - Marvic Leonen,Dean of the UP College of Law, in a keynote address delivered at the 1st International Solidarity Conference on Mindanao; March 16-18, 2009 in Davao City, Philippines.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Interfaith humanitarian mission starts today

The five-day National Interfaith Humanitarian Mission focus on the looming humanitarian disaster in Mindanao begins today. Leaders from different religions convene the mission founded on the deteriorating situation of more than half a million internally displaced persons (IDPs) due to the ongoing police-military operations of the government against forces of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), as well as the unabated and increasing human rights violations being committed particularly by government authorities against innocent civilians and non-combatants.

Respect of human rights is a foremost obligation of the government but failure on this responsibility makes a failing or failed state, said a human rights expert.

The mission involves various activities to include provision of relief assistance to IDPs, documentation of human rights violations, forum with the war victims, psycho-social intervention and stress debriefing.

International and local non-governmental organizations and party list representatives from the Philippine Congress concerned on human rights issues, together with some medical groups, join hands for the mission.

The World Conference of Religions for Peace (WCRP) and its regional affiliate the Asian Conference of Religions for Peace (ACRP), which also have ongoing interreligious dialogue in the Philippines this week, pledged to support the National Interfaith Humanitarian Mission in Mindanao.

WCRP and ACRP will make appeal to the ASEAN Nations to discuss the Mindanao humanitarian crisis in the upcoming ASEAN Meeting in Bangkok in December 2008.

Relatedly, the Asian Human Rights Commission, a participating group to the National Interfaith Humanitarian Mission in Mindanao, will elevate their findings to the United Nations.

The police-military actions against MILF started in the first week of August this year.

Government authorities, police and military officials and elements had been blamed of using excessive force in its operations, violating human rights by committing illegal arrests, killing of civilians, destroying civilian properties, schools and religious symbols, burning houses, raid and torture, food blockade, selective relief assistance, bombing civilian communities, committing collective punishment, indiscriminate shelling and air strikes, inability to protect and uphold the rights of civilians and non-combatants in times of war, and violating International Humanitarian Laws.

Oxfam of the Great Britain, United Nations World Food Program (UNWFP) and the International Committee of the Red Cross recently pronounced that the humanitarian crisis in Mindanao is real, which is in contrary to the persistent claim by the government.

Recently, more than ten persons were arbitrarily arrested by government authorities in the province of Maguindanao and Cotabato, including those who were forcibly taken by government soldiers from refugee sites. Some of the victims were physically abused by the lawless government soldiers, and one victim was brought to a hospital due after severely beaten up by government soldiers.

Starting 6pm until 8pm last night until, the Philippine Army heavily and indiscriminately bombarded with mortar and artillery shelling barangays Nimao, Gawang, Tee and Andabit in Datu Piang, Maguindanao and some villages in Guindulungan, Maguindanao. (Source: luwaran.com)

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