Moro groups want human rights provisions in final GPH-MILF peace pact

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/14 November) — Moro organizations which have been helping educate stakeholders in the grassroots on the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) said they want human rights provisions to be included in the final peace accord between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Bai Ali Indayla, secretary general of Kawagib, an alliance for the advancement of Moro human rights, said they have organized school and community forums to educate the people on the FAB, peace negotiation and the situation of the Moro people in general.

Indayla said Kawagib will propose the inclusion of human rights provisions concerning justice for victims of abuses, release of Moro political detainees and forced evacuations in the final peace agreement.

She said these issues affect women especially those who had lost their husbands and children during military operations.

She cited the incident of arbitrary killing of Asmayra Usman, a four-year old girl in an evacuation center in Datu Saudi, Maguindanao last August 21.

”Women are affected when they cannot perform their economic activities when there are military operations,” she stressed.

Paragraph 2 of Article VIII (Normalization) of the FAB states that the aim of normalization is to ensure human security in the Bangsamoro and that human insecurity includes violation of human and civil rights, social and political injustice and impunity.

“The Parties agree to work out a program for transitional justice to address the legitimate grievances of the Bangsamoro people, correct historical injustices, and address human rights violations,” Paragraph 12 of the same Article says.

Meanwhile, Zaynab Ampatuan, executive director of the Moro People’s Community Organization for Reform and Empowerment, Inc. (PCORE) said their group has been holding community discussions on the signed framework agreement.

Ampatuan said the Moro PCORE will propose a program on the Shari’ah provisions to be included in the final peace agreement.

“We would study and push for more liberal application of Shari’ah without clashing with Muslim sensibilities. We’ll involve everyone in the discussions and drafting a program for Moro and Lumad women’s empowerment,” she said.

Paragraph 3 of Article III (Powers) of the framework agreement states: “The Parties recognize the need to strengthen the Shari’ah courts and to expand their jurisdiction over cases. The Bangsamoro shall have competence over the Shari’ah justice system. The supremacy of Shari’ah and its application shall only be to Muslims. ”

Paragraph 5 of the same Article states: The Bangsamoro Basic Law shall provide for justice institutions in the Bangsamoro, including “the competence over the Shari’ah justice system, as well as the formal institutionalization and operation of its functions, and the expansion of the jurisdiction of the Shari’ah courts.”

To be drafted by the Transition Commission (TransCom), the basic law will govern the Bangsamoro entity that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao by 2016.

The Executive Order creating the 15-member TransCom is reportedly with the Office of the Executive Secretary and should be out soon.

Continue vigilance

Indayla, second nominee of the Kabataan party-list, called on the people, especially the Moro youth, to continue their vigilance.

She said that while Kawagib supports and recognizes the FAB as the result of perseverance of both parties towards peace, it must be clear to the Bangsamoro people that it is not yet the answer Moro people’s clamor for their right to self determination.

“Bantayan natin ang mga susunod na mangyayari sa peace talks at maging bahagi ng pag-assert ng kasunduan na panig sa interes ng mamamayang Moro (Let’s be vigilant on what will happen next in the peace talks and be involved in asserting for an agreement that favors the interest of the Moro people.),” she said.

Indayla pointed out that many things may happen in the process of crafting the final peace agreement, saying that the “devils are in the details.”

Hence, people should be vigilant by participating in consultations, launching education campaign and doing different forms of actions to raise concerns that they want to include in the final peace agreement, she said.

For her part, Ampatuan said her group is more into capacity building rather than expecting from the FAB. She admitted though that the signing provided more fertile ground for the attainment of self-governing Moro and Lumad areas.

“We have experiences with the past government and learned lots of lessons. With these, we have to strengthen the people in defending their territories with or without the signed framework agreement,” she added.

The peace panels of both parties resumed talks in Kuala Lumpur this week to finish the power-sharing, wealth-sharing and normalization annexes of the FAB, which was signed last October 15 in Malacanang. (Lorie Ann Cascaro/MindaNews)

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