CHR: Rights cases highest in West Mindanao
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines—Most cases of rights violations are in areas where the government’s war on terror is focused, according to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).
In a report presented last week, CHR said cases of torture and enforced disappearances continue to pile up even under the administration of President Aquino, which is trying to project itself as an antithesis of the Arroyo administration.
In its report, CHR said the number of cases of rights violations involving soldiers and policemen is higher in Western Mindanao and other areas in Mindanao where the government’s war on terror is focused.
The report was presented in a training session for authorities on laws against torture and protecting human rights here last week.
CHR said from July 2010 to July 2011, at least 18 cases of torture have been recorded in Mindanao.
Eight people also disappeared while 64 others were summarily executed, said the report entitled “Recent Trends from 2010-2011” and presented by Christopher Louie Ocampo, an official of CHR.
“Western Mindanao has the highest (number of torture cases) with nine cases followed by Region 12 (Socsargen) with three and Caraga with three. In the case of enforced disappearances, Western Mindanao is still on top with four cases,” Ocampo said.
Human Rights Commissioner Jose Manuel Mamauag said active reporting by “aware stakeholders” led to the discovery of the cases.
Mamauag said increased awareness about human rights cases was a positive sign though it was saddening that cases of torture, disappearances and summary executions continue to happen.
Another bad news, he said, was that none of the cases filed against identified perpetrators had prospered so far.
Renante Basas, a CHR director, said there are sufficient laws against human rights violations but these are not being enforced. One of the reasons, he said, was the lack of witnesses.
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