10th Session of the UN Human Rights Council
Item 3: Interactive Dialogue with the Representative of the Secretary-General on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)
Friday, 13 March 2009
Thank you, Mr. President.
FORUM-ASIA thanks the Representative of the Secretary-General on the human rights of internally displaced persons (IDPs) for his comprehensive reports (A/HRC/10/13, Add.1 and Add.3) including his assessment on the achievements and challenges at the juncture of ten years of the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement. While we take note of the focus of the Representative of the Secretary-General on the devastation caused by natural disasters, we still remain deeply concerned at the increasing displacement caused by the armed conflicts which could have been preventable had the issues surrounding them been managed and handled with the rights-based perspective as a framework in coming up with solutions.
For instance, the failed signing of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MoA-AD) between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) last year gave rise to new rounds of skirmishes that have affected the entire region of central Mindanao.1 The conflict resulted in the displacement of civilian populations – especially women, children and the elderly, and this led to the disruption of community life, especially the people’s economic activities as well as the education of children. According to the National Disaster Coordinating Council in its 8 September 2008 Report, the cumulative total number of affected persons in Mindanao was 88,243 families and 423,772 individuals. Cases of death and wounding among civilian population, as they were caught in the cross fire, and those who became sick and died in the evacuation centers have been also increasing as the conflict continues. We would like to draw the attention of the Representative of the Secretary-General to the latest fact-finding mission report of the Philippine human rights groups on the relevant situation.2
In this respect, FORUM-ASIA urges the Government of the Philippines to properly incorporate the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement and relevant international human rights law into its national legislation and policies, and immediately work on durable solutions to prevent further internal displacement and to protect the rights of IDPs including the creation of a safe environment that would be economically sustainable. We also urge the Government of the Philippines to resume peace negotiations and ensure genuine efforts in resolving the conflict situation in Mindanao whilst ensuring the compliance of all concerned parties to the international humanitarian and human rights norms.
Finally, FORUM-ASIA would like to encourage the Representative of the Secretary-General to look into the situations of IDPs in Mindanao, and not only focus on the rights of persons displaced by national disasters, as a follow up to his country visit which was conducted in November 2002 (E/CN.4/2003/86/Add.4) with a view to assessing the implementation of his previous recommendations to the Government of the Philippines and addressing the urgent needs of IDPs and the returnees affected by the conflict in Mindanao. 3
Thank you Mr. President.
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1 FORUM-ASIA, Written statement submitted to the 10th session of the UN Human Rights Council, “Human Rights Situation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Mindanao, Philippines’, 18 February 2009, http://www.forum-asia.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=316&Itemid=125
2 The fact-finding mission was jointly conducted by Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), a member organization of FORUM-ASIA as well as Task Force Civilian Protection (TFCP), Alyansa Ng Mga Mamamayan Para Sa Karapatang Pantao (AMKP) and Mindanao Peoples’ Peace Movement (MPPM) from 12 to 22 October 2008. The complete report is available at:
3 Recently, the Representative of the Secretary-General issued a reminder to the Government of the Philippines of his request for an official visit to the Philippines, which would be conducted in June 2009.