On 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human RightsWe Demand: Lift Martial Law in Mindanao and Resume Peace Talks Now!

We at Migrante Austria join hands in condemning the recent forcible closure of two campuses of Salugpongan Ta Tanu Igkanogon Community Learning Center in the sitios of Nasilaban and Dulyan, Barangay Palma Gil, Talaingod, Davao del Norte by state agents and members of paramilitary group Alamara. 

We are troubled and enraged by trumped-up charges filed against former Bayan Muna Representative Satur Ocampo, ACT Teachers’ Partylist Representative France Castro , KATRIBU Chairperson Piya Malayao and church workers from various religious congregation in Davao region including pastors namely Rev. Ryan Magpayo, SMDC Deputy Conference Minister; Rev. Jurie Jaime; Rev. Edgar Ugal and Rev. Eller A. Ordeza from the United Methodist Church and 16 other participants of the National Solidarity Mission (NSM) including teachers and church workers who rescued the Lumad students and teachers of Salugpongan after they fled their communities. 

We demand the release of the two (2) Lumad children who are still illegally held by the the Department of Social Work and Development (DSWD) – Region 11. Despite attempts of parents and guardians to claim the custody of their children, the DSWD make up different excuses to hold them.

The ruthless attacks against the Lumad communities and those who opt to serve them are direct violations of the rights and dignities of our marginalized brothers and sisters. 

We mark the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by recognising and supporting the long history and persistent struggle of the Lumad in Mindanao to defend their ancestral domain and assert their legitimate rights. Their struggle is our struggle.

We hold President Duterte accountable for his seemingly endless arsenal of dirty tricks.The  military occupation of communities and schools, killings, threats and harassment of residents (including children) and rights defenders have to stop now.

Hence, we demand:

  • Dismiss all trumped up charges filed against the NSM delegates; 
  • Reopen the forcibly closed Lumad community (Salugpongan, etc) schools, stop the attacks on Lumad communities, and allow Lumad children of their right to education through the Salugpongan schools. 
  • Unconditionally release the Lumad children to their parents and guardians; 
  • Pull out the 56th IB in the Lumad communities and disarm the paramilitary group Alamara; 
  • Lift Martial Law in Mindanao. Extending Martial Law in Mindanao or expanding it to other parts of the country is certainly not a solution to the fundamental problems besetting our nation.
  • Resume Peace Talks to address the root causes of injustice and armed conflicts.

Mike Garlan