DAVAO CITY – A Datu (tribal leader) of Manobos from Talaingod, Davao del Norte met with with a United Nations official on Monday in Quezon City to discuss how the alleged human rights abuses forced them to leave their communities.
Datu Tungig Mansimoy-at, one of the leaders of the Manobo organization Salugpungan Ta Ta’nu Igkanugon met Dr. Chaloka Beyani, the United Nations special rapporteur on internally-displaced persons (IDPs) last Monday.
Beyani is on his official visit in the Philippines from July 21-30 to look into the human rights situation of IDPs, their specific needs and protection concerns, says Cristina Palabay, secretary general of human rights alliance Karapatan.
Palabay said the Datu “relayed to Beyani their plight at the evacuation center and the continuing encampment of soldiers in their communities and Lumad schools.”
According to Karapatan, Mansimoy-at said the Army has tagged the Lumad learning centers as “NPA schools”.
“The schools are initiated by the Lumad and were built through the support of advocate groups and non-government organizations,” said Palabay.
Karapatan said they requested the meeting with Beyani as a follow-up of their previous engagement at the UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva, Switzerland in June 2014.
According to Karapatan, the visit “also aims to examine the Government’s response to internal displacement, including law and policy frameworks and governance structures.”
“Aquino’s counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan has targeted communities of indigenous people and peasants,” said Palabay.
Palabay said Karapatan has documented 60,155 victims of forced evacuation. (davaotoday.com)