Sent: Friday, 26 May 2017 1:50 PM
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Subject: Revoke Martial Law Declaration for Mindanao

May 26, 2017,
H.E. Rodrigo Duterte
President of the Republic
Malacañang Palace,
JP Laurel St., San Miguel
Manila Philippines

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Revoke Martial Law Declaration for Mindanao

Dear Excellency,
We write to you in solidarity with advocates for human rights, and with the people of Mindanao and the Philippines, to call on you to revoke the Martial Law Declaration made late on Tuesday May 23, 2017.
The Filipino people, as you have stated, need just and lasting peace, but a Martial Law declaration is definitely not the way to achieve these aspirations.
Martial Law is never a proper response to the deeply-rooted problems, including the existence of a terrorist group or the ongoing armed conflicts, in Philippine society.
We greatly fear that this Declaration’s scope and timeline can extend to the whole of the country and beyond 60 days.
We support the call by the human rights alliance Karapatan for a deeper investigation into the bloody incidents in Marawi, which we condemn for endangering civilians. Martial Law is not needed to respond to these attacks.
Why was all of Mindanao included in this declaration? DND Secretary Lorenzana has cited unrest in Zamboanga, Tawi-Tawi, and other places, and included the presence of the New People’s Army in Mindanao as justification for the Martial Law declaration. These sweeping excuses are an unfortunate echo of the justifications of Marcos’ Martial Law in 1972.
Martial Law will inevitably result in intensified military operations, including aerial strikes, which can kill and affect hundreds or thousands of civilians, and to an open season for extrajudicial killings, illegal arrests, torture and other forms of rights violations.
We are profoundly concerned that Martial Law will be used to further justify denying people their political and civil rights. Years of oppression, exploitation, discrimination and denial of the right to self-determination of peoples in Mindanao and the rest of the country cannot be solved by State military action.
Instead, the formal peace talks between your government and the Moro Peoples organisations and the National Democratic Front remain the best hope of a pathway to the just resolution of the long-running civil conflicts in your country. We urge you to revoke the Martial Law Declaration and to redouble the energy now focused on the peace talks.
Yours sincerely,
Peter Murphy
Global Council, ICHRP
Hon. Jesus Dureza, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process,,
Ret. Maj. Gen. Delfin Lorenzana, Secretary, Department of National Defense,,
Vitaliano Aguirre, Secretary, Department of Justice,
Jose Luis Martin Gascon, Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights,
Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Hon Ms Julie Bishop MHR
Shadow Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Senator Penny Wong
Australian Greens Foreign Affairs Spokesperson