MILF Criticizes Philippine Human Rights Records

October 4, 2007 at 6:13 pm | Posted in 1 | 1 Comment

COTABATO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Oct. 04, 2007) – Muslim rebels negotiating peace with Manila have criticized the country’s human rights records, saying, the Philippines is no different from Burma.

“Both the Philippines and Burma have semblances in sharing poor records in the protection of the human rights of their citizens. They are also in the state of martial law, one declared and the other undeclared but both using the same iron fist policy of the state against their own citizenry,” said Khaled Musa, a senior Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

The MILF is the Philippines’ largest Muslim rebel group fighting for a separate homeland in the southern Philippines. It has, in the past, accused Manila of human rights violations, particularly among the Muslim minority in the country.

Arroyo has criticized Burma for its violations of human rights and called for the release of pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners.

Musa said the Filipino leader has no moral clout to give lessons to the Burmese dictators, citing the hundreds of militants summarily executed during her time, aside from those picked up randomly by security forces on mere suspicion that they are “terrorists”.

Hundreds of innocent Muslims have been arrested over the years in the southern Philippines, particularly after the 9/11 al-Qaeda attacks in the United States and at the start of the so-called war on terror.

“It is better for President Arroyo to keep silent and start cleaning up his own turf by weeding out those human rights violators,” Musa said.

He said the worsening human rights abuses in the Philippines prompted the United Nations to intervene and sent an envoy, Philip Alston, to investigate the extra-judicial killings in the country.

Last week, militant groups also criticized Arroyo for calling on Burma to free all political prisoners while extra-judicial killings still continue in the Philippines.

”The economic and political crisis in Myanmar (Burma), which triggered series of protests tackling variety of issues from oil price increases and human rights violations, is similar to what the Filipinos are experiencing under the Arroyo administration,” said Jeppie Ramada, a spokesman for the group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) in southern Philippines.

Ramada said Arroyo’s statements in the 62nd United nations General Assembly urging Myanmar “to go back to the path of democracy,” are mere rhetoric that contradict the human rights problems in the Philippines.

“With Arroyo’s speech in the United Nations General Assembly centered on Myanmar’s atrocities, it only manifests that she’s trying to evade and divert the issue of political killings in the Philippines.”

”Instead of answering allegations of political persecution in her own country, she managed to wipe the dirt into her fellow dictators in Myanmar. She has lost the moral ascendancy to talk about human rights violations since 2001, when hundreds of activists summarily executed,” Ramada said.

The militant women’s group, GABRIELA, also branded Arroyo’s statements as hypocritical and ironic.

“Mrs. Arroyo’s statements are attempts to cover up her regime’s murderous record on extra judicial killings and disappearances, amid much international criticism over the human rights crisis in the country.”

“This duplicitous show of support for Aung San Suu Kyi and the pro-democracy movement in Burma is mortifying. Mrs. Arroyo even had the gall to summon women power for the Burmese leader when in her own country, her repressive policies are the very hindrance to women power,” Rep. Liza Maza said.

Maza said that human rights documentation in the country since Arroyo assumed office in 2001 indicate that 96 women have fallen victims to extrajudicial killings and 31 have disappeared.

Under Arroyo, the Philippines have had 22 women political prisoners, many of them in conditions no different from Suu Kyi, she said.

“No different from the military junta in Burma, Mrs. Arroyo has led the violent dispersal of protests with her calibrated pre-emptive response. She has led attempts to silence critics with her Proclamation 1017 and deny Filipinos the truth behind the rampage of corruption in her administration with EO (Executive Order) 464. Certainly, her two-faced statements cannot hide her bloody record from the international community,” Maza said. (Mindanao Examiner)

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  1. 10,000 monks have either been killed or arrested in burma, along with many, many civilians. that’s hardly the league GMA is in, is it?

    But of course the left needs something to ride on all the time. Burma is just the latest beast of their burdensome ideology.


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