A human rights group in the southern Philippines has welcomed a government statement announcing the imminent lifting of martial law across Mindanao, but it called for an international probe into alleged atrocities committed by the military while it has been in force.
The group BarugKatungod (Stand for Rights) said two and a half years of martial law in the region had resulted in more than 162 killings. At least 704 cases of “fabricated charges,” 284 cases of illegal arrest and detention, 1,007 victims of aerial bombardments and the forced evacuation of at least a million people were also reported.
“This announcement to end martial law will ultimately not bring relief for all the victims,” said Bishop Redeemer Yanez of the Philippine Independent Church, convener of the rights group. The presidential palace announced on Dec. 10 — International Human Rights Day — that President Rodrigo Duterte will not seek another extension of martial law in Mindanao.