13 August 2008
Reference: Joms Salvador, Spokesperson, 371-2302, 0917-3221203
AFP wantonly violates rules of war in North Cotabato -- GABRIELA
"The Arroyo-led AFP is committing a grave violation by conducting intensified military offensives in North Cotabato with utter disregard of the lives of civilians. Under the guise of protecting civilians from so-called occupation of MILF in certain areas in North Cotabato , the joint operations of the PNP and AFP resulted to immeasurable damage of lives and livelihood. It further exposes the fascist character of Arroyo government." This was the statement of GABRIELA National Alliance of Women on the ongoing conflict in Mindanao .
The women's group said that the AFP attacks in North Cotabato is a violation of Part IV of Protocol II of the Geneva Conventions, which outlines the just treatment of civilian populations during armed conflict The Geneva Conventions form the core of International Humanitarian Law, which is commemorated annually in the Philippines during August 12.
"The Arroyo government and its Armed Forces are liars, hypocrites and cheats. No lasting peace can ever spring from this government," said Joms Salvador, GABRIELA spokesperson.
According to Salvador , in times of war, 80% of civilians affected are women and children.
"And if indeed, the ulterior motive in this military attack is to create a scenario to push for charter change, then this government is even more abominable by staking the lives of women and children in exchange for Arroyo's personal political agenda," said Salvador .
The women's group said that the military should immediately cease its operations in North Cotabato . ###