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06 July, 2017

US military’s anti-terror efforts in the Philippines fueling human rights violations

U.S. forces have teamed up with the Philippines’ military to combat terrorist groups in the country, ostensibly to bring about peace. But numerous human rights violations have sprung up in their wake and some believe that the U.S.’ ultimate goal may be to oust President Rodrigo Duterte.

by Joe Catron

Part 3 - Human rights violations abound amid U.S. intervention

Before the Marawi crisis erupted, years of U.S. involvement had already taken a grisly toll in Mindanao and across the Philippines, according to the country’s human rights advocates.

U.S. intervention through military and political means on the affairs of Mindanao and the Philippines has resulted in countless violations of human and people’s rights such as massacres, torture and other grave crimes especially against the Moro peoples, to blatant disregard of the country’s sovereignty and patrimony, and to the worsening of social injustices and discrimination against Moro and Lumad peoples,” said Cristina Palabay, secretary general of the KARAPATAN Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights.

In Marawi, she added, “Human rights violations have been committed with graver impunity especially with the continuing implementation of the U.S.-driven counterinsurgency program, all-out war declaration against the people, the anti-poor war on drugs and martial law declaration in Mindanao.

These abuses fit an established historic pattern of the U.S. and its allies using anti-terror rhetoric to justify their repression of popular struggles, regardless of the human toll, according to Reverend Michael Yoshii, a global council member of the International Council on Human Rights in the Philippines

In the case of the Philippines, this has led to hundreds of extrajudicial killings targeting human rights advocates seeking social change in the country,” he said.

The war on terror continues to be a nebulous reality that needs to be reigned in as innocent civilians like those in Marawi have become collateral damage in these campaigns.

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