As an independent human rights institution, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) clarified that when it demands accountability on the part of the government for transgressions, it also demands the same from anyone who commits human rights violations.
It cited as an example the case of the New People’s Army (NPA) which took full responsibility for the death of two persons and the wounding a teenager in last June 6 landmine explosion in Masbate.
“As we demand transparency and accountability from the government, we demand the same from the NPA,” the CHR said in a statement.
“We reiterate as an independent national human rights institution that respect for human rights and international humanitarian law at all times is the foundation for a just and lasting peace,” it said.
“To enjoy our collective freedoms and human rights, both the State and non-State agents must assume their separate duties and responsibilities in upholding, protecting, and promoting these principles,” it added.
It pointed out that it was not enough for the NPA to express “deep remorse” and apologize for the Masbate explosion.
It said the NPA should identify and surrender the perpetrators of the incident so they can “face justice within the court system.”
“Owning up to a crime is not enough to realize justice and accountability,” it stressed.
Also, it demanded from the NPA accountability for all other crimes and human rights violations it committed when it started its armed conflict against the government.
“We continue to condemn all forms of violence that trample on the rights and dignity of all persons. In this regard, we urge the government to ensure that perpetrators are held to account under existing laws,” it said.