CHR probes alleged rights abuses related to martial law in Mindanao


MANILA — Various regional offices of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) are looking into reported incidents of rights abuses allegedly being committed by soldiers in relation to the imposition of martial law in Mindanao in the wake of the Marawi crisis, a commission official has said.

The regional offices have initiated their own investigations even in the absence of any formal complaint, which they are waiting to be lodged, CHR director for public affairs and strategic communications, Atty. Jacqueline Ann de Guia, said in an interview Wednesday.

“All information surfacing are being investigated. The regional offices are monitoring (them) even if there are no formal complaints.”

She said they have yet to receive reports on details of alleged human rights violations that may have been committed by government forces in Marawi City.

“We urge the government to ensure that the rights of all Filipinos are upheld while addressing this humanitarian crisis in southern Philippines,” she said.

De Guia said the 1987 Constitution enforces respect for all civil liberties and assures the protection of human rights despite the declaration of martial law, including every Filipino’s right to life, freedom from torture, warrantless arrest, and illegal detention.

She further called on legislators to exercise due diligence and consideration in reviewing the merits of martial law in Mindanao.

This developed after President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in the region last May 23 after fighting escalated in Marawi City between the military and the terrorist Maute Group who have reportedly pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS).

Meanwhile, de Guia said the CHR has deployed personnel to the embattled city to monitor closely the living conditions of civilians displaced by the clashes, especially the vulnerable sector of women, children and the elderly.

She said they are investigating the reported death of some “bakwit” in evacuation centers due to health problems. Ma. Luisa M. Garcia/

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