[Statement] MAMAPASANO UNNECESSARY CARNAGE: Amidst Intense Grief and Sorrow, Conduct A Determined Pursuit of Truth and Justice -PAHRA

MAMAPASANO UNNECESSARY CARNAGE: Amidst Intense Grief and Sorrow, Conduct A Determined Pursuit of Truth and Justice

“Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the
equal and inalienable rights of all members of the
human family is the foundation of freedom, justice
and peace in the world” …. UDHR 1948

Muling ipinapahatid ng Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) ang kolektibong pakikiramay at pakikiisa sa matinding dalamhati ng mga pamilya, asawa, anak at iba pang mga mahal sa buhay ng mga napaslang na apatnapu’t apat na kasapi ng elite Special Action Forces (SAF) sa Mamapasano, Maguindanao.

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Kinikilala sila na kabahagi ng mga katangi-tanging sandatahang pwersa ng bansa na may katungkulan na ipagtanggol, at ibuwis ang mga sariling buhay kung kinakailangan, ang mga karapatan ng mga mamamayang Pilipino na mabuhay na may dangal at kaligtasan.

Tama lamang na bigyan sila ng mga medalya ng kagitingan at tanghaling mga bayani ng bayan.

In the midst of intense grief and sorrow, we enjoin all human rights defenders and peace advocates, drawing from the courage and sacrifice of all those who fought and fell, to conduct a determined pursuit of truth and justice to obtain a just and lasting peace. The Commands of involved Parties – the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and executive task forces such as the Anti-Terrorism Task Force must thoroughly probe into the aspects of due diligence in intelligence and operations, command responsibility and the law of international humanitarian law (IHL) as integral components in this our common search.

We demand accountability for the supposedly, among others, exposing the SAF forces in a “killing zone”, the lack of coordination and inappropriate chain of command, violations of the rules of engagement and other provisions of the IHL. We vehemently condemn all forms of deliberate mutilations, for whatever reason, of the wounded and/or slain combatants. We demand appropriate administrative and criminal liability for those responsible for this tragedy.

Truth and justice is highly dependent on the State’s judicious implementation of its obligation of transparency. The people must also take courage to inform and assert their right to be informed about the data and the actors involved. Impartial and independent investigative bodies are welcomed initial steps. But, in no way should any one, State or non-State actor, invoke secrecy to perpetuate impunity. In no way is this a path to justice and peace.

We commit with the families and loved ones of the fallen SAF Forty-four, those wounded and/or maimed, all human rights defenders and peace advocates and all people of goodwill, to determinedly pursuit and obtain truth, justice and peace.

January 30, 2015

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