NAGA CITY (12-Mar-2013) – Human rights group Karapatan deplored the reported wave of arbitrary arrests, detention, killings, and other forms of cruel and degrading treatment of Filipinos in Sabah, as Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak refused to stop military operations despite the call for a ceasefire by the Sultan Kiram of Sulu.
Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan, said “whether they are civilians or supporters of Sulu Sultan Jamalulu Kiram III, the reported acts of the state security forces of the Malaysian government show its total disregard for life and other fundamental human rights. It is not just a matter of ‘grave concern,’ but an issue that should be dealt with decisively by the Aquino government.”
Palabay said that the Aquino government’s earlier statements served as a ‘go signal’ to the Malaysian government to commit these violations.
According to news reports, more than 60 Filipinos have been killed by Malaysian forces, while scores were said to have been rounded up in detention and hundreds forcibly evacuated, including women and children. Foreign correspondents report that Malaysia’s Security Offenses Special Measures Act is used as basis to detain and investigate people in areas populated by mainly Filipinos “for committing terrorist acts.”
Palabay said that the “refusal of Prime Minister Razak to call for a ceasefire, after the Sultanate of Sulu heeded the call of the United Nations is an indication of their hostile and inhumane stance on the Sabah crisis. The Aquino government has done nothing for the peaceful resolution of the crisis. He has, in fact, aggravated it by mounting threats against the Sulu Sultan Kiram.”
“For this, Aquino should be held accountable for the reported grave human rights violations inflicted by the Malaysian state forces on the Filipinos in Sabah. Aquino’s complete surrender of our sovereignty claim to Sabah, his abandonment of responsibility to protect his Moro constituents, and his apathy to the Moro people’s struggle for self-determination led to these violations; committed freely and brazenly on the Filipinos in Sabah,” Palabay asserted.