Saturday, May 20, 2006

Philippine Death Squads: Government & Rebels both point fingers

It has many on the sidelines puzzled who is really behind the wave of killings hiting the Philippine countryside and cities. At present some groiups seeing the reports from UNHCR and others are pressing the US, EU, and Australia to stop military aid until the situation improves. Three years ago the first international reports came out citing the increasing levels of vioence. The report however focuses more on the plight of children and concern over the welfare of those orphaned in the growing conflict and return of a more violent insurgency.

They UNHCR in 2003 did note a "State reforms" but, " lack of appropriate measures to investigate crimes allegedly committed by state security forces and agents"

" Positive aspects "

1. The Committee appreciates the progress made by the State party to reform its domestic legal order to comply with its commitments under the Covenant. It welcomes, among other actions, the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Covenant in August 1989. The Committee considers that the process of reform should be accelerated and strengthened.
2. The Committee notes with satisfaction that the State party has facilitated international assistance in relation to education and training on the protection of human rights.

" Principal subjects of concern and recommendations "
" The Committee is concerned about the lack of appropriate measures to investigate crimes allegedly committed by state security forces and agents, in particular those committed against human rights defenders, journalists and leaders of indigenous peoples, and the lack of measures taken to prosecute and punish the perpetrators. Furthermore, the Committee is concerned at reports of intimidation and threats of retaliation impeding the right to an effective remedy for persons whose rights and freedoms have been violated. "

" The State party should adopt legislative and other measures to prevent such violations, in keeping with articles 2, 6 and 9 of the Covenant, and ensure effective enforcement of the legislation. "

But the recent level of violence is seen not only as a Government issue - the cycle of violence has grown to a level that is alarming.

On one side the Government points to mass graves and claims a purge versus their effective infilltraition of rebel groups has proof of rebel killings of leaders who are becoming mainstream or shying away from armed fighting.

PURGE: "Rebels are killing off their own"

" Palparan…. claimed the killings were part of another round of a bloody purge in the Communist Party of the Philippines and its allied organizations. " adding " This is Operation Missing Link Part two,” Palparan said. The first part, known then as Kampanyang Ahos, happened in the 1980s, mostly in the Bicol and Southern Tagalog regions." he told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

But this is something the Rebel movement denies; claiming it is only a cover story…

The National Democratic Front (NDF) deny a purge within the NPA.
“The government’s false allegation of a purge within the revolutionary movement is meant to further justify more extrajudicial killings,” Luis Jalandoni, the NDF chairman of peace negotiating panel, said in a statement. Jalandoni said the allegations of a purge are part of a propaganda campaign launched by the military.

"The preposterous claim of a purge within the revolutionary movement has long been exposed as a lie by the thinly veiled and arrogant boasts of [Maj. Gen. Jovito] Palparan,” - Manila Times

Maj. Gen. Jovito Parlpalan is the focus of the rebel leaders reactions after he revealed the new discoveries of mass graves and alleged new plot to purge rebel ranks.

Parlpalan has taken pains to secure sites recovered and brought government forensic teams as well as intenrational Human rights groups to the sites of "Mass Graves" his troops have uncovered in the Countryside. Media groups have also focused in the Philippines their attention on Gen. Parlpalan.

Someone - is killing militant leaders that is clear reports the figure is up to 97 members of organizations killed on the left of the spectrum of Philippine Politics. It also reports that 3 have been killed and others wounded in the last three days.

" … 97th victim either of killing or involuntary disappearance in Central Luzon since 2005.

Last year, 52 members or leaders of Bayan in the region were killed and seven were abducted and remained missing. Since January of this year, 26 have been killed while 13 were abducted… "

Meanwhile a press release say a "independant group" will carry out its investigation into the both the death squad reports and mass graves and killings. The commision is planning to look into various reports - but both sides the Military and the leftist groups seem so intent at pointing a finger at each other that one wonders if there will be a clear result to this.

Reports like this one however continue to puzzle me… 40 or more bodies none of whem are listed on the cause oriented groups list of people killed. Read more »

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