The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Wednesday deplored terrorism acts by the rebel groups, but appealed to the Department of National Defense (DND) to still uphold the protection of human rights in addressing rebellion.
In a statement, CHR executive director Jacqueline Ann de Guia said while the agency welcomed DND officer in charge Jose Faustino Jr.’s commitment to prioritize the protection of human rights, respect for international humanitarian law and efforts to address the root causes of internal conflict, “the endless cycle of violence, including those perpetrated by armed lawless groups, must be stopped.”
“Violent unrest sows discord on the lives of civilians, which disturbs the peace in communities and prevents them from realizing certain human rights, including the right to a peaceful environment and development—both individually and as a community,” she said.
Citing the bomb blast in Lamitan City, Basilan just barely a month after the bombings in South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, and Basilan, she added it is more apparent that there is a need for sustainable solutions to armed conflict.
“We at CHR condemn all violent, lawless actions, including employing armed conflict as a means to an end,” she said.
“We continue to call the need to uphold the rule of law and support government efforts in its fight against terrorism, respect for international humanitarian law, and the principle of distinction, which remains paramount in ensuring the protection of the rights of combatants and civilians during times of conflict,” she emphasized.
She said the CHR is hoping that the DND, with respect for the human rights of all as a prime consideration, would strengthen its thrust in addressing the root causes of armed conflict toward lasting and resilient peace, especially in communities where it is most needed.