Peace Talks Ipagpatuloy! Manindigan sa Kapayapaan!
After more than a year of disagreements that eventually led to this sixteen month stalemate in the peace negotiations, the negotiating panels of both the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the National Democratic Front (NDF) met up in Oslo, Norway, together with Amb. Ture Lundh and former Sen. Wigberto Tanada, for a “meaningful discussion” paving the way for the resumption of the formal negotiations between them. With this development, a new spark of hope had been ignited for the continuation of the talks and the resolution of this longstanding conflict that has claimed thousands of lives and has delayed development.
This armed conflict has to end now! We, in Sulong CARHRIHL Network, as most of the country, appeal to both parties to get back to the negotiating table and resume the talks. Specifically, we call on both parties to
· Implement CARHRIHL
Civilians should be protected and not victimized by the war. Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law violations should be stopped. Both parties have signed the agreement and should therefore abide by its provisions.
· Release JASIG Protected Persons and All Political Prisoners
We urge the release of JASIG protected persons and all political prisoners for humanitarian reasons. This will create a climate of trust and manifesting government’s sincerity on the peace talks.
We also call on both parties to revisit the JASIG principles and settle the issues that had been major bottlenecks in this negotiation. Reconstruct the Document of Identification list of JASIG protected persons so as to ensure that this issue will not hold back the process in the future.
· Suspension of Military Offensives
The continued armed struggle has not only destroyed lives but has also cultivated a culture of violence among those directly affected by war. A ceasefire between the two armed groups will not only avoid more victims of war, it shall also help communities to rebuild their lives and once again experience a peaceful, undisturbed environment.
· Look into/Implement the Joint Agreement in Support of Socioeconomic Projects or Private Development Organizations and Institutes
This agreement, as mentioned by Sen. Tañada, had been signed by both parties way back 1998, but has not been implemented. Through this, development projects will reach areas of conflict in the country contributing to their progress and development.
We also urge the GPH and the NDFP to positively look at the options provided by the special track andexhaust means to come up with a principled political settlement that will pave for the signing of the other 3 agenda in the Hague Declaration. Let us open ourselves to other peaceful options in attaining peace. We all must act now. We all must work together to bring just and lasting peace to our country. There is no better time but the present to secure the peaceful future of our country. MANINDIGAN SA PEACE TALKS! MANINDIGAN SA KAPAYAPAAN!