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The Official Publication of the Moro Human Rights Center Inc.


 

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Cover Story:
2001 MORO HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT:
More of the Same

by Erwin Francis Gaerlan

The Many Facets of Conflict Resolution
by Sophia Dimalog

The MORO HUMAN RIGHTS CENTER: A Reflection
by Erwin M. Gaerlan

The Universal Islamic Declaration of Human Rights

A Human Rights Framework For the Moro Struggle
by Cris M.Gaerlan, Jr.

Signs of Peace
by Sahara (Samira Gutoc)

Musings
by Faith Joan C. Mesa

News Bits
IMAN binuo ng mga estudyante
Moro Civilians Abducted by Military
- Jamal Matanog

Poetry

Economics of War

Cover Story:
2001 MORO HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT: More of the Same
by Erwin Francis Gaerlan

A political upheaval has effected a swift change of government in the Philippines. Fifteen years since the Peoples’ Power has toppled the Marcos dictatorship, our country has showed the world again the power of democracy. This event installed then incumbent Vice President, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, as the new and 14th President of the Republic of the Philippines. This change however, has not reversed the trend in human rights violations among the Moro people. Apolitical upheaval has effected a swift change of government in the Philippines. Fifteen years since the Peoples’ Power has toppled the Marcos dictatorship, our country has showed the world again the power of democracy. This event installed then incumbent Vice President, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, as the new and 14th President of the Republic of the Philippines. This change however, has not reversed the trend in human rights violations among the Moro people.

The Estrada Government, during its last months in power, brazenly displayed its total disregard for human rights when it declared an all-out war against the Muslim insurgents of Mindanao. Government figures showed 300,000 families, while non-government organizations revealed more than 500,000 families displaced by the war. They have cramped evacuation centers like sardines. Hundred were killed or summarily executed, others illegally arrested and millions-worth of crops and properties have been destroyed by this catastrophic policy. Moreover, the war created a deep wedge between the Muslim and the Christian population.


At a press conference last August 22, 2001, MHRC Executive Director
Erwin Gaerlan talks on the plight of illegally arrested Basilan residents

The present one-year old administration of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has yet to prove its sincerity in pursuing peace based on justice and respect for human rights. Just like her deposed predecessor, President Arroyo did not have a program for the promotion and protection of human rights. Her first instinct when confronted with a problem is to show that she can brandish an iron fist, tending to use militarist solution, with very little tolerance for criticisms.

Example, on July she declared a “state of lawlessness” in Southern part of Mindanao particular in Moro areas following a series of bombing incidences. This resulted to zoning operations, warrantless and mass arrests. The ongoing politico-military operations, especially in the Southern Philippines have heightened and have been pursued under the guise of anti-terrorism. Though, her pronouncement for reform within the government is welcome news and presents a positive view, her concrete actions for the promotion and protection of human and peoples rights remains to be seen.

At the last Quarter of the year armed clashes between the government and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) loyal to founding chairperson Nur Misuari have resulted to mass exodus in the several municipalities in Sulu, and in Zamboanga City.

Next: On racial discrimination, xenophobia and all forms of discrimination.