Militant group seeks UN probe on Lumad killings
The militant group Karapatan has asked the United Nations (UN) to investigate the reported killings and forced evacuations of indigenous communities in Mindanao amid President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of martial law.
Karapatan secretary general Tinay Palabay said they sent a three-page letter to Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, UN special rapporteur on rights of indigenous peoples, to seek an intervention on the reported killings and arrests of Lumads.
“It is the military’s unwelcome presence in these areas that have uprooted indigenous communities from their homes and have endangered their lives and livelihood,” said Palabay in a statement on Friday.
Palabay also asked the UN special rapporteur to urge the Duterte administration to halt its military operations in civilian communities in Mindanao.
READ: Duterte urged: Remove troops from Mindanao indigenous communities
Military operations in the region, she said, have forced the Lumads to leave their settlements due to “threats” and “harassment” from soldiers.
According to Karapatan, eight T’boli and Dulangan Manobo farmers were killed by members of the 27th and 33rd Infantry Batallions of the Philippine Army.
“We urge you and your office, ma’am, to conduct an independent investigation on the recent massacre of eight Lumad in South Cotabato towards the swift prosecution of the perpetrators,” Palabay said in the letter to Tauli-Corpuz dated Dec. 7.
“These recent incidents and previous cases of extrajudicial killings, illegal arrests, harassment and forcible evacuation of indigenous communities in Mindanao are illustrative of the worsening human rights situation in the country, as exacerbated by the counter-insurgency program and drug war,” she said. /jpv
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