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PRESS RELEASE (24 February 2016): Solon condemns arson of Lumad evacuation camp

24 February 2016 No Comment

ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio scored the latest case of harassment against displaced lumad in Davao City, saying that government inaction to address past violence enables further human rights violations against indigenous peoples.
“We condemn, in the strongest terms, this brazen attack on the lumad refugees in Haran. The arsonists violated the sanctuary provided by the UCCP to a group already forced to flee from their communities by relentless military operations,” said Tinio.
Tinio challenged national and local government authorities to immediately bring the perpetrators to justice.  “Impunity must not be allowed to prevail, especially since the plight of the lumad refugees in Haran has already been brought to the attention of the United Nations.”  The legislator pointed out that UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons Cheloka Beyani visited the lumad in Haran last July and called for their protection against militarization.
According to an Urgent Alert sent by the Save Our Schools Network-Mindanao, unidentified men burned the Lumad evacuation camp in the Haran Mission House of the United Church of Christ of the Philippines at around 2:00 Wednesday morning, Davao City.
Five were wounded in the recent arson, including two children.  Initial investigation cited that the fire was intentional.
Controversy erupted in July last year when North Cotabato Rep. Nancy Catamco, with the assistance of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and individuals associated with the paramilitary group known as Alamara, attempted to forcibly eject the lumad from the Haran compound.  “The harassment of the lumad seeking refuge in Haran continues unabated,” said Tinio.
Due to the attacks by elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and AFP-backed paramilitaries in their upland, mine-rich communities, hundreds of indigenous peoples have sought shelter in the UCCP compound since early last year. ###

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