Statement: Justice for the Killing of Lumads
JUSTICE FOR THE SLAIN LUMAD LEADERS; LET THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES LIVE IN THEIR LANDS WITH JUSTICE AND PEACE
The Lumads in Southern Mindanao have long been victims of armed conflict in the Philippines. During the 1980s, state sponsored resettlement programs resulted to their displacement from their ancestral domains. Accompanying this are various human rights violations such as militarization and deprivation of their basic right to education and social services. Their stories are either ignored or left untold.
On September 1, 2015, three Lumad leaders were killed by alleged members of paramilitary groups in Lianga, Surigao del Sur. These incidents were witnessed by their families and neighbors. The Lumad communities in Lianga, San Agustin, Marihatag, San Miguel and Tago, Surigao del Sur felt insecure and unprotected as a result of the killings. The presence of the military have not assuage their fears. They fled to seek safety elsewhere. This disrupted their economic activities and their usual socio-cultural undertaking. Their displacement has also exposed them to greater risks to their safety, health, and well being.
According to the CHR-CARAGA’s progress report, around 3,237 indigenous people (IP) including men, women and children are now taking temporary shelter in Surigao del Sur Complex in Tandag City. Safety inside the shelter is being observed. Some indigenous peoples are concerned with their children’s education hampered by the displacement.
We at Balay, condemns the killing of the Lumads. The incident is a blatant affront to their human rights. We call for the prompt and impartial investigation and resolution of the case in order to achieve justice and responsible people are made accountable. We also implore the duty-bearers to attend to the needs of the displaced peoples and take steps to protect them from harm as provided for by the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement.
While Balay is in solidarity with people, groups and organizations who call for justice, we also appeal to the Philippine Senate for the immediate passage of the HB 4774 and Senate Bill 2785 entitled Rights of the Internally Displaced Persons Act.