Karapatan asks UN to probe ‘lumad’ deaths
A human rights group has asked the United Nations special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples to look into recent alleged state-perpetrated violence against “lumad” (indigenous peoples) communities in Mindanao, particularly the “massacre” of eight farmers branded by the army as communist insurgents in South Cotabato, and a “food blockade” of relief aid for evacuees fleeing military operations in Surigao del Sur.
In a letter to Victoria Tauli-Corpuz on Thursday, Karapatan secretary-general Cristina Palabay called for an “independent investigation” and for assistance to put a stop to what the group called a “spate of attacks” against indigenous communities.
On top of Karapatan’s concerns was the killing of eight T’boli and Dulangan Manobo farmers in Sitio Datalbong, Barangay Ned in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato last Dec. 3, in a joint operation against communist New People’s Army rebels by the Philippine army.
Karapatan insisted that the killed lumad folk were mere civilians harvesting produce and occupying a portion of the corporate-owned coffee plantation as part of their claims to their ancestral domain.
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