Thursday, January 27, 2011

CPP dares AFP to file case before JMC and international bodies over land mine use

CPP dares AFP to file case before JMC
and international bodies over land mine use*

Information Bureau
Communist Party of the Philippines
January 26, 2011

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today dared the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to walk its talk and file a case before the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) over its complaints about what it claims to be the illegal use of land mines by the New People's Army (NPA).

"We dare the AFP to formally file a complaint before the JMC and even international courts and try to prove their claim of the NPA's violation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) and the international rules of warfare, particularly the protocols on the use of mines and explosives," said the CPP. "Until then, all these complaints by the AFP over the so-called illegal use of land mines by the NPA are nothing but blabber."

Yesterday, AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Jose Mabanta claimed that the NPA violated the CARHRIHL when it ambushed several police officers aboard a police vehicle in Rizal, Cagayan the other day. NPA fighters triggered a command-detonated explosive to disable the vehicle before moving in to pin down the targets.

The CPP pointed out that Article 2 Section 15 of the CARHRIHL asserts the people's right "not to be subjected to forced evacuations, food and other forms of economic blockades and indiscriminate bombings, shellings, strafing, gunfire and the use of land mines".

According to the CPP, this provision clearly aims to protect civilians from being endangered by the reckless and indiscriminate spread of pressure-triggered land mines which, as defined by the Ottawa Treaty, are "designed to be exploded by the presence, proximity or contact of a person." This does not include command-detonated explosives (CDX).

"The NPA's use of CDX, which are constantly manned and triggered on command, in fact, surpasses the Ottawa Treaty in terms of ensuring the protection of civilians," added the CPP. "There has never been an incident where a civilian was recklessly hurt by the NPA's employment of CDX as legitimate weapons of war."

Meanwhile, the CPP castigated the AFP spokesperson for "undermining the peace negotiations by insisting on using it as an instrument for pacification."

"The AFP spokesperson is betraying the true color of his outfit when he insists that by engaging in peace talks, the NPA should stop launching tactical offensives," said the CPP. "The AFP apparently only wants to use the peace talks as an instrument of pacification, to coerce or beguile the armed revolutionary forces to surrender or silence their weapons."

"The way General Mabanta puts it, the AFP appears completely uninterested in the peace negotiations as a means to address the comprehensive range of socio-economic and political issues that are at the roots of the ongoing civil war," said the CPP.

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