CHR asks gov't to ensure safety of 6,000 displaced residents in Maguindanao del Sur

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has called on the government to ensure the "immediate safety" of 6,000 residents who have been displaced due to hostilities in Maguindanao del Sur.

"As the country’s national human rights institution, we urge the local and national government to work towards addressing this matter, before more individuals and families are forced to evacuate their area in order to seek safer grounds," the CHR said in a statement.

Reports obtained by the CHR showed that the hostilities stemmed from conflict between two armed groups in Mamasapano town, and it has sadly affected the adjoining towns of Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Datu Salibo, and Saydona Mustapha. 

CHR echoed the statement of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Human Rights Commission (BHRC), which reminded the warring Moro factions to "promote peace, compassion, and respect for human rights."

"At a time where Ramadan had just recently concluded, we must remain rooted in the values of mutual understanding as a foundational pillar to sustain the harmony amongst communities," the CHR said.

While the CHR recognized the efforts of the Philippine government in deploying peacekeepers in the area, the commission still called for urgent humanitarian response to the armed conflict.

"We hope that the human rights situation in the area will progress towards upholding the protection of the civilians and that they are provided with a safer environment where they are able to exercise their fundamental freedoms without fear for their safety," the CHR said.

It also said it will continuously monitor the situation to ensure that the residents remain safe and that they are provided access to basic necessities.