CHR: Marawi crisis can be addressed without martial law extension
While Congress was deliberating on the extension of martial law in Mindanao, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) pitched in its two cents: An extension won’t be necessary.
“The government has the full capacity and ability to address any extremist threat and lawless violence within established powers and authorities of our security forces and chain of command, without the necessity of further exercising the martial law powers,” the CHR Public Afairs Office, headed by lawyer Jacqueline de Guia, said in a statement issued on Saturday.
The CHR said it had confidence that the military could “effectively quell terrorism” spread by Islamic State-inspired armed groups in Marawi City and “restore law and order in the whole of Mindanao even without martial law.”
The CHR also called for upholding human rights in any context, noting that CHR regional offices in Mindanao had started investigating allegations of human rights violations following the declaration of martial law.
The CHR said civilians and noncombatants, especially Muslims, “suffer much from the continuing violent conflict in Mindanao.”
“We are concerned that the manner by which aerial bombardment employed in Marawi did not sufficiently take into account the time-honored standards of distinction, proportionality and necessity in International Humanitarian Law resulting in tremendous damage and destruction,” the CHR statement read.
“We are moved by the humanitarian crisis of massive dislocation and displacement of over 90,000 families in both evacuation centers as well as in host homes across Mindanao that are not adequately attended to,” the statement said.
But the CHR also praised “the courage and bravery” of government troops, saying their rights and welfare must also be upheld. It condemned the actions of the rebel armed groups led by the Maute Group.
The CHR also said it respected the powers of President Rodrigo Duterte and trusted that his decisions to address the crisis had “sound foundation.”
“We [only] ask that due consideration to the full exercise of fundamental human rights and the recognition of the dignity of all will be respected. Please do not think we are any less patriotic when these concerns are raised as the constitution itself enshrines the same values,” the CHR said. /atm
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