We, the undersigned organizations and individuals, in solidarity with the Filipino people, condemn the government of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte for extending the declaration of Martial Law and the suspension of writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao until the end of 2017. We also condemn the Duterte government’s push to impose Martial Law on a national scale.
Duterte’s declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao in May 23 has already resulted in an increase in human rights violation in the Philippines’ second biggest island. The decision of the Philippine Congress and Senate in July 22 to extend Martial Law in Mindanao until the end of the year, presaged by the Philippine Supreme Court’s approval of the measure on July 4, will surely result in even more.
The 400-strong National Interfaith Humanitarian Mission (NIHM) to Marawi City and Iligan City on June 13-16, 2017 established that “barely two weeks since the May 23, 2017 declaration of Martial law there has already been at least 325,294 individuals who were internally displaced from Marawi (65,198 families), Maguindanao (1,248 families), North Cotabato (260 families), and Davao del Sur (187 families).”
In fact, the human rights record of the one-year old Duterte government is deplorable. As of June 30, 2017, human rights group Karapatan documented 68 victims of political killings and 842 victims of illegal arrests. At least 416,005 individuals were displaced and 357,569 were subjected to indiscriminate gunfire and aerial bombardment. These figures include bombings and aerial strikes in Marawi, North Cotabato, Bukidnon, Davao del Sur, Davao del Norte, and several other areas in Mindanao and all over the country. This does not even include the staggering casualties attributed to Duterte’s “War on Drugs” – which is widely believed to have surpassed the 8,000 mark.
Further, Karapatan has reported that in the period May 23-July 16 alone, there have been 10 victims of politically-motivated killings and 335 illegal arrests in Mindanao.
History tells us, Martial Law will only exacerbate the many and complex armed conflicts in Mindanao, which is home to the Communist-led New People’s Army (CPP-NPA-NDFP), separatist groups Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), not to mention the terrorist-bandit group Abu Sayyaf, private armies and paramilitaries. The Duterte government’s failure and recent refusal to conduct peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) to seriously address the social, political and economic root causes of these armed conflicts in favor of iron-fisted approaches will only strengthen armed groups opposing government.
Faced with an armed attack in Marawi City stemming from clan wars in the area, and an apparent failed attempt to capture Isnilon Hapilon in Marawi, the Duterte government swallowed hook, line and sinker the US government’s reading that the attack was caused by international terrorist group ISIS. It also followed the supposed solution dictated by the US government – the imposition of Martial Law.
Martial law does not bring peace. It escalates war. Martial law does not solve the problem of poverty and injustice in Mindanao, it aggravates suffering and injustice in the country. It intensifies exploitation and oppression of its people.
We join the widespread clamor of the Filipino people, that it must, therefore, be lifted at the soonest possible time to avoid more harm and damage to the people.
We stand with our Filipino brothers and sisters in Mindanao and the entire Philippines, today we join their voices in calling:
No to Martial Law extension in Mindanao!
No to Martial Law imposition in the Philippines!
Stand up for human rights in the Philippines!
End human rights violations in the Philippines!
Address the social, political and economic root causes of the armed conflict in the Philippines!
Chairperson, Global Council of the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines
Mobile number: +61 418312301
JustPeacePH Steering Committee members: