CHR warns of danger in 'normalization' of Mindanao martial law
MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Wednesday, December 12, insisted that martial law is unnecessary in addressing lawlessness in Mindanao.
CHR Chairperson Chito Gascon said measures being undertaken by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) are enough to "quell any threats without the need to invoke the extraordinary powers of martial law."
"There is a danger in 'normalization' of martial law," added Gascon.
Voting 235-28-1, the 17th Congress on Wednesday extended martial law until the end of 2019, as requested by President Rodrigo Duterte.
It is the third extension granted since Duterte's initial declaration in May 2017, which was in response to clashes between government troops and terrorists in Marawi City (WATCH: Marawi in 360: Inside the War Zone)
The extension has been condemned by various groups, including those who denounce alleged human rights violations under military rule. The AFP and the PNP, however, insist that there are no violations.
Gascon said the claim that there are no violations is "far too sweeping, without acknowledging the fact that there have been reports from the ground coming from human rights defenders." Alleged violations include arbitrary detention and profiling.
"The martial law administrators should look into these reports," he said.
CHR Spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia, meanwhile, said the assessment of martial law in Mindanao should not only highlight successes but also violations.
"Martial law is never meant to be the status quo," she said. "If we are to bring peace to Mindanao, it has to be inclusive and durable – not at the expense of others and their rights." – Rappler.com