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GABRIELA SOLON HITS DFA AS IT FEIGNS PROTOCOL IGNORANCE TO DEFEND AFP RIGHTS VIOLATIONS

”The Department of Foreign Affairs’ statement on the United Nations’ lack of coordination and breach of protocol is absurd! UN officials cannot just arrive and conduct their investigations without the proper invitation from the Philippine government. Consequently, it is the government that invited the UN official that should be responsible for any briefing—cultural, security or otherwise, during the stay of any UN official. Is the DFA now feigning ignorance of protocols and policies to cover-up the AFP’s shameless act of twisting the UN’s statement on the situation of Internally Displaced Persons in the Philippines? “

This was the question raised by Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Luzviminda Ilagan noting how the Department of Foreign Affairs is now pointing the finger at United Nations officials for its supposed lack of coordination. DFA Assistant Secretary Jesus Domingo had referred to the diplomatic errors by the AFP’s EastMinCom that earned a rebuke from the office of the UN Special Rapporteur for the rights of Internally Displaced Persons, Dr. Chaloka Beyani.

“Now that the Philippine government is gaining international notoriety for incessant violation of rights, the DFA rushes to undermine the UN just to defend human rights violators and becomes a party to promoting impunity,” said Ilagan.

Ilagan noted that two UN officials have called the Philippine government to task for human rights violations committed by the AFP and its paramilitary groups against indigenous peoples.

Last January 31, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Internally Displaced Persons Chaloka Beyani issued a strong statement urging “the Philippine government, in consultation with indigenous peoples themselves to give greater attention to addressing  the causes of displacement whether it be due to the militarization of their areas or due to development projects.”

Dr. Beyani has since defended his statement which has been distorted and manipulated by the AFP’s Eastern Mindanao Command. The EastMincom spokesperson Col Eduardo Gubat has since resigned from his post.

Last August 11, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples expressed concern at the killings and vioaltions that have targeted indigenous peoples. At the State of Indigenous Peoples’ Address, Corpuz stated how some 100 IPs were killed protecting their ancestral lands and the environment. Corpuz said, “violation of the right to participate and to assert their claims to their lands must be avoided.”

“Now that there is a clamor for the government to address these human right violations from the international community Aquino should start ordering the pull out of troops from Lumad communities and the disbandment of paramilitary groups formed by the AFP.”

Posted By: Lynne Pingoy

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