MANILA, Philippines – Thirteen-year old Lumad Shin Campos saw her father shot in the head twice, allegedly by military and paramilitary elements, on September 1 near their village in Lianga town in Surigao del Sur.
Helpless and traumatized, Shin fled her village with her family and hundreds of other indigenous peoples, trekking for two hours to bring her dead father and another victim to the town proper. (READ: School head, 2 lumad leaders killed in Surigao del Sur)
The violent incident is among the recent spate of killings and other alleged human rights violations that have forced thousands of indigenous peoples to leave their communities in Surigao del Sur, Bukidnon, Sarangani, and Davao del Norte.
According to the group Katribu, at least 53 Lumad had been killed extrajudicially under the Aquino administration. Based on the group’s documentation, the killings have intensified in 2015, claiming 13 lives as of September 1.
These figures raise the following questions:
- Is the Aquino administration doing enough to end impunity in Mindanao?
- How should the government address the plight of the indigenous refugees?
- How can the public and civil society help the Lumad?
Rappler talked to Vicky Tauli-Corpuz, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, on how to deal with the alleged human rights violations committed against the Lumad.
Corpuz, an Igorot from the Kankana-ey tribe in Besao, Mountain Province, is the first indigenous person from the Philippines to assume the position. – Rappler.com