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Use of anti-personnel mines violation of IHL: CHR

By Jelly Musico / Philippine News Agency

MANILA – The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Monday “strongly” condemned the death of a Far Eastern University football player and his cousin due to anti-personnel landmine attack reportedly perpetrated by guerrillas of the New People’s Army (NPA), armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

In a statement, the CHR said the CPP-NPA and the government are bound to respect the International Humanitarian Law (IHL).

“CHR strongly condemns this act. The use of anti-personnel landmine is a violation of the International Humanitarian Law. Not only do they cause exceptionally severe injuries, suffering, and death, anti-personnel landmines also fail to distinguish between civilians and combatants, such as what happened in this case,” CHR spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia said.

De Guia said the CHR is now investigating the death of Keith Absolon and his cousin, Nolven Abasolon. Nolven’s 16-year-old son sustained injuries during the explosion.

“A suspected anti-personnel landmine was said to have been detonated by alleged members of the NPA while the victims were riding on a bicycle,” she said.

She said the CHR Region 12 (Soccsksargen) is also investigating the burning of a passenger bus that killed three passengers and injured six others in Barangay Bialong in M’lang, North Cotabato on June 3.

The YBL bus was set ablaze the YBL bus about 4 p.m. when one of its passengers stood up, pulled a container, and splashed gasoline on the rear side of the bus while it was travelling to M’lang.

De Guia said the motive is also still being determined by proper authorities.

“In both instances, it is reprehensible that innocent lives continue to be taken because of senseless terroristic acts. We extend our deepest condolences and prayers to the family and friends of the victims,” she said.

She said all concerned agencies must work together to ensure that accountability is exacted from perpetrators.

“We stress that the government, in particular, bears the obligation to protect the rights of all, as well as pursue justice for the aggrieved. Concrete steps must also be done to stop further hostilities and to reduce violence in order to prevent further loss of lives and other forms of violations of rights,” she added.

The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)



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