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The Official Publication of the Moro Human Rights Center Inc.


 

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Volume 1 Issue 1

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

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

The Moro struggle is perhaps the oldest and longest running campaign for self-determination in Asia. Moro demands for self-determination have persisted throughout the centuries in different forms and despite setbacks the Moro people persisted. Revolt after revolt; struggle after struggle-the Moro people fought the Spanish, American, and the present Filipino regimes. This struggle persists because it rests in a sound socio-cultural and politico-historical basis.

The non-resolution of the Moro national question clearly defines the continued situation of unpeace in Mindanao. The unrelenting assertion of the state of its majority ideology over the nationality minority question drives the wedge in the resolution of the conflict. The difference is overlooked or out rightly refused and denied. The Moro question is simply addressed thru token piecemeal solutions within the framework and policy of assimilation.

No matter how many Moro personalities or individuals are being placed in top government posts. No matter how many offices are made to accommodate Moro demands. No matter how many concessions the government will give to the demands of the Moro insurgents…. But then again all these are tokens of uncomfortable political accommodation because it is accorded within the framework of assimilation. It is accorded within the mindset of appeasing restlessness and not addressing the national question. Naturally the failure of these political accommodations all the more sharpens the contradiction and provides even more valid justifications for the assertion of the right to self- determination of the Moro people.

The Moro struggle for self-determination provides the general direction and main content of the present Moro people’s struggle. Among its main components are the struggles for the right to the ancestral domain of the Moro people, the right to political self-determination, and the right to cultural heritage. These are concrete and valid demands for it stands squarely within the parameters of human rights. It is therefore already within the realm of recognition by the international community. The Philippine state is also duty-bound by international human rights instruments and its own constitution to recognize these rights.

However, the truth is less than this. The Philippine state, by virtue of its control by foreign and local elites, has been essentially an instrument to exploit and oppress the Moro people. Historically, the government implemented a settlement program which paved the way for massive land grabbing by these elites of the rich land and natural resources of the island. In the process, ancestral domains of both the Moro and the Lumad peoples, unrecognized by them, were turned into vast plantations, mines and other enterprises solely benefiting these elites. Presently, the situation is even more aggravated and complicated by the present global campaign against supposed terrorists where the Moro people, being Muslims, undeniably become the most vulnerable victims.

It remains to be seen if the present Moro struggle, which is already occurring at several arenas, will lead to genuine recognition of the Moro people’s aspirations. The task at hand for the Moro human rights defenders is to realize the rights of the Moro people in all their dimensions-political and civil as well as economic, social, and cultural.

Next: How does the human rights framework serve the Moro people’s struggle?