Make your own free website on

The Official Publication of the Moro Human Rights Center Inc.


Volume 1 Issue 1

Cover Story:
More of the Same
by Erwin Francis Gaerlan

The Many Facets of Conflict Resolution
by Sophia Dimalog

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)

by Faith Joan C. Mesa

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


Economics of War

A Human Rights Framework For the Moro Struggle

by Cris Gaerlan Jr.

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

First, by enabling the Moro people to carry the struggle to the very fora from which the Philippine elite draws its justifications for continued exploitation and oppression of the Moro people. It can address directly the international community of nations and the Filipino people through the common language of human rights.

Second, it can pursue the realization of Moro rights, which are the main content of the Moro people’s demands, within the very processes and structures of the Philippine state. Of course, the human rights framework can also justify the struggle outside of the Philippine state, if necessary, within the framework of a national liberation struggle.

Third, immediate results can be worked for, in terms of whatever opportunities or necessities that may occur in the course of the Moro struggle or in the course of the struggle for human rights of the Filipino people.

Fourth, victories, however small, gained in the human rights struggle can serve and become building blocks toward the eventual radical break and realization of the genuine self-determination of the Moro people.

What are the limitations of the human rights framework?

First, there is the legal requirement and mode of operation of human rights struggle and advocacy. Based as they are on international human rights instruments, human rights are limited to what are in these documents. Human rights advocacy for expanding and deepening these agreements is a whole movement in itself.

Second, the Philippine state, while duty bound to implement, defend, respect, and promote human rights, continually violates the latter in pursuit of the elite’s interests. The Philippine human rights movement exists and struggles against this tendency, within and outside state processes and structures.

Third, the human rights framework cannot encompass all of the aspirations and demands of the Moro people, particularly those outside of the rights framework. At most, human rights may be interpreted broadly and new rights (outside of the international agreements) may be advocated by Moro human right defenders. However, there are areas of human society, which are well outside the human rights parameters such as religious and political beliefs, technological development, etc.

Fourth, human rights advocacy is universal. That is, the Moro human rights defenders cannot use it as a framework for struggle without themselves committing to work for the realization of human rights within Moro society. Moro human rights advocates should have a specific strategy or approach to handle this.

Next: Some suggestions on Moro human rights struggle and advocacy