IN PHOTOS: Rights groups protest against 'killing fields' in Mindanao
MANILA, Philippines – Ahead of the International Human Rights Day on December 10, rights groups protested against the extension of Martial Law in Mindanao.
Barug Katungod Mindanao and the militant rights group Karapatan staged a demonstration in front of Department of National Defense in Quezon City on Wednesday, December 6. They decried the numerous human rights violations allegedly committed amid Martial Law in Mindanao.
"[Duterte] has made Mindanao and the rest of the country into a killing field, instigating an open season for killings and rights violations, through counter-insurgency program and [the] Martial Law declaration," Ryan Amper of Barug Katungod said.
According to Karapatan, they have identified 29 victims of extrajudicial killings many of whom were members of farmers' organizations and affiliates of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP).
Karapatan has also documented 15 cases of torture, 58 illegal arrests and detention, and gunfire incidents and air strikes that affected nearly 335,700 people. (READ: Martial Law 101: Things you should know)
"We have seen the devastating impact of Marco's Martial Law, and recently, people in Mindanao have relived this horror, albeit in a more intensified and relentless manner," Karapatan deputy secretary-general Roneo Clamor said.
In May, President Rodrigo Duterte declared Martial Law in Mindanao after government troops clashed with terrorist forces in Marawi City. (TIMELINE: Marawi clashes prompt martial law in all of Mindanao)
Marawi City has remained under military rule even after Duterte declared that it has been "liberated from terrorist influence" in October 16. Martial law in Mindanao is set to expire on December 31, after Congress voted to extend it after its original expiry date on July 22.
On Tuesday, December 5, the Supreme Court affirmed its earlier ruling that upheld the constitutionality of Martial Law in the island.
"The Duterte regime is brazenly, openly, turning its guns against the Filipino people. This can only merit resistance. The Martial Law declaration should be lifted, not extended, nor should it be expanded nationwide," Clamor added.
Below are some photos during the rally: