Mindanao Human Rights Summit: Declaration of Unity

Oct. 01, 2006
September 22-23, 2006
CAP Auditorium, Anda Street, Davao City

In the middle of the night, armed men crept into the house of a peasant; shot him dead and fled in a motorcycle… A journalist known for exposing government corruption was killed by a gunman inside her home in front of her children. In Moro communities, men are being abducted right from their homes; some get jailed, others disappear.

Peasant families have to comply to the militarys orders to buy only one kilo of rice everyday and take nothing more. Their crops and harvests are destroyed by relentless military operations. The military deprive communities of their most basic needs like food, water, shelter, and medicines.

These are the stories of anguish that widows, orphans and family members live to tell. Stories that show the pattern of political killings and repression in Mindanao.

President Arroyo is waging an all-out war campaign against the peoples of Mindanao. It is a campaign that transforms the island into a single laboratory of the AFPs Oplan Bantay Laya. This military campaign is a major component of Arroyos approach towards the so-called development in Mindanao. A development approach that is being propelled by the AFP clear-hold-consolidate strategy to pave the way for the entry of mining companies, logging concessions and other foreign monopoly capital in Mindanao. This is Arroyos recipe of development that kills the peoples of Mindanao.

In the guise of its campaign against terrorism and counter-insurgency, the Arroyo administration made the peoples of Mindanao targets of the militarys strike operations, psy-war campaigns and intelligence work. This vicious campaign has resulted to unabated extra-judicial killings, repressive attacks, and various forms of human rights violations that victimize the civilian populace of Christians, Moro and Lumad communities, members of peoples organizations, and personalities opposing the anti-people programs of the government.

Amidst the consolidation of the Western and Eastern Mindanao military commands in the island and massive troop deployments in municipalities and barangays, martial rule is now taking place in Mindanao. The dominating presence of the military clearly subverts the rule of law, the regular functions of the local government units, and the constitutionally-mandated civilian supremacy. Hamletting, food blockade, ID and cedula system, and denial of health services are common occurrence in the communities.

The alarming human rights situation in Mindanao is an undeniable proof of the widespread all-out war policy being implemented by the Arroyo administration. This is a policy that renders impunity to the perpetrators of the worst forms of human rights violations committed against the peoples in Mindanao. This is a policy that warrants political killings and repression among the Christian, Lumad and Moro peoples. This is a policy that is badly needed by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to cling to power.

But the peoples of Mindanao will remain undaunted. And as the land bleeds, the three peoples of Mindanao thirst for justice.

We, delegates of the Mindanao Human Rights Summit held on 22-23 September 2006 in Davao City, resolutely commit ourselves to defend the rights of the peoples of Mindanao.

Let our voice be heard loud and clear enough —

Christian, Lumad and Moro peoples of Mindanao,

One in Asserting:





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