MILF signs new declaration vs landmine use (Philippines)


MANILA, Philippines - The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has signed a new instrument adhering to International Humanitarian Law on the use of landmines.


(11.12.2008)

An article on the MILF website cited the announcement of Philippine coordinator of the Philippine Campaign to Ban Landmines (PCBL) that ranking leaders of the MILF signed the declaration, bringing to four the number of rebel groups in the Philippines that signed the instrument this year.

"The MILF declaration was signed by its representatives on 21 October 2008 and was received by PCBL on 10 November 2008. It was signed by two important MILF Central Committee members, namely Atty. Lanang S. Ali, who is Vice-Chairman of the Maglis Al Shoorah (the MILF legislative body), and Sammy Al Mansor, Chief of Staff of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF, the MILF army)," the MILF said.

Under the declaration, non-state armed groups (NSAGs) are to adhere to, become accountable for, and generate assistance for compliance with the key norms, standards and undertakings of existing international humanitarian law (IHL) on landmines, not limited to those of the 1997 Ottawa Treaty totally banning victim-activated anti-personnel mines.

The MILF said the declaration is significant since armed hostilities continue to occur in Central Mindanao.

"Since August, there have been a number of field reports, mainly from the AFP, regarding alleged landmine use by the MILF. But this has yet to be verified by independent, competent and credible entities," the MILF said.

For its part, the PCBL hopes that the MILF declaration of adherence to IHL on landmines will help spur better respect for IHL as well as human rights not only by the MILF but also by the AFP and other armed forces/groups involved in the current hostilities.

"Any resolution of these hostilities as well as any resumption of the stalled peace negotiations will have to include measures for the respect of IHL and human rights. Those measures should include a more thorough investigation of the various reported violations, the effective imposition of sanctions against those found to be responsible for atrocities to obviate impunity for these, and the adequate provision of different forms of redress for the victims," the MILF said.

Earlier signatory Philippine rebel groups included the Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa ng Mindanao (RPM-M, Revolutionary Workers Party of Mindanao); the Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa ng Pilipinas (RPM-P, Revolutionary Workers Party
of the Philippines); and the Marxista-Leninistang Partido ng Pilipinas (MLPP, Marxist-Leninist Party of the Philippines). - GMANews.TV

Von: 12.11.2008, www.gmanews.tv

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