CHR condemns Abu Sayyaf attack, calls for the protection of civilians

31 August 2017

PRESS RELEASE 

CHR CONDEMNS ABU SAYYAF ATTACK, CALLS FOR THE PROTECTION OF CIVILIANS

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) condemns the attack of the Abu Sayyaf group in Maluso, Basilan, last August 21, resulting in the death of nine people. CHR also calls for the protection of civilians in terrorist-stricken areas. 

Armed skirmishes in Basilan and other areas of Mindanao have caused internal displacement and illnesses due to congestion and sanitation issues in evacuation centers, among others. Fear and human rights violations, especially among women and children, have also been perpetrated by terrorist groups.

Abu Sayyaf and other terrorist groups’ attacks against civilians have worsened the situation of the general Muslim population, stereotyping them as terrorists and subjecting them to discrimination. CHR has consistently condemned human rights violations against civilians, including discrimination against Muslims, by non-state lawless elements. 

“Amid Abu Sayyaf attacks, the Commission expresses its hope in the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police to effectively quell terrorist activities and restore law and order,” says CHR Spokesperson Atty. Jacqueline Ann C. de Guia speaking in behalf of the Commission.

CHR recognizes the efforts of our AFP troops to defend the flag, its territories, and our people, especially against those who sow fear and discord. CHR affirms that there should be no violation of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL). This 1949 Geneva Convention restricts use of weapons and warfare methods. It protects civilians and people who are no longer participating in war, such as wounded combatants and prisoners of war. This is translated in domestic law as the Philippine Act of Crimes against IHL, genocide, and other crimes against humanity (R.A. No. 9851). 

The Commission also joins the AFP and other government offices in observing the IHL Month this August. ■

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