UN team probing summary killings meets with victims, MILF, MNLF

Representative from the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Malaysian-led International Monitoring Team (IMT) also met with Alston’s team.

Rasid Ladiasan, head of the MILF CCCH secretariat told MindaNews that the nearly two-hour talk that started at 3 p.m. focused on the following: assessment on extrajudicial killings in Philippines; effects of extrajudicial killings and human rights violations on the peace process; possibility of establishing international monitors on human rights in Philippines; are extrajudicial killings part of counter insurgency campaign; are Moro peoples seeking help from CHR (Commission on Human Rights); and effectiveness of government in addressing extrajudicial killings.

He said a separate meeting was held with representatives of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

The Alston mission is on a 10-day fact-finding mission in the Philippines that started Monday last week, to look into allegations of extrajudicial executions that have been occurring in various parts of the country.

Alston was accompanied by William Abresch, assistant to the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions; Peter Diawuoh, deputy security adviser; Ulrich Garms, associate human rights office of the UN Commission on Human Rights; and Alghassim Wurie, deputy country director of the UN World Food Programme.

Karapatan Southern Mindanao reported that Alston “hear 12 highlighted cases of political killings in Mindanao during his talk with the victims in a venue undisclosed for security reasons.”

“In addition, Karapatan submitted ten more cases to the Rapporteur adding to a total of thirty three (33) human right violations,” Karapatan’s press statement read.

Karapatan said among the cases presented was the “Lawan-Lawan massacre” in Misamis Oriental where the victim was riddled with 43 bullets at close range. The military claimed he was killed in crossfire with the New People’s Army.

Also presented were the extrajudicial killings of “peasant leader Sofronio Enoc in the Pangyan Massacre in Marilog, Davao City;  the killing of another peasant leader Hermelino Marqueza from Tandag, Surigao del Sur; the death of Bayan Muna provincial chair Dalmacio Gandinao of Salay, Misamis Oriental; Bulane massacre in Davao del Sur; the murder and frustrated murder of striking banana workers from Compostela Valley.”

In most of these cases, the killers wore masks and rode motorcycles.

“Karapatan is optimistic that Prof. Alston will submit a substantial report to the United Nation Human Rights Council as to the government’s vague compliance with the international laws to which Philippines is a state party,” the press statement said.

The statement quoted Kelly Delgado, Karapatan Southern Mindanao secretary general as saying that Alston was “attentive, a good listener, and sensitive to the victims’ grief.” (MindaNews)

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