De Lima: Invite UN to see Marawi Evacuees situation
Senator Leila De Lima, who is still in Camp Crame has made a statement again regarding the situation of the evacuees in Marawi city siege. The senator has filed a resolution that urged the government to invite the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons Cecilia Jimenez-Damary. She wants the Rapporteur to evaluate the situations of the evacuees in Marawi City.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) was asked by De Lima to send an invitation to Jimenez-Damary to formally invite her, in Senate Resolution Number 445. De Lima is expressing her worries about the evacuees’ situation that it might worsen due to the extension of Martial Law in Mindanao.
Complaints against Martial Law extension
“In light of the extension of the effectivity of Martial Law in Mindanao and the worrisome conditions already reported to be prevailing in the affected areas, it is imperative for the Executive Department to invite Jimenez-Damary, to enable her to verify these troubling complaints, assess the actual living conditions of the (evacuees) within and outside evacuation camps,” De Lima’s statement on Sunday.
Based on the report of the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Zamboanga, De Lima said a total of 35,168 individuals have already been displaced in Marawi City as of June 2017. And there are 17,389 who are still currently looking for shelter in the evacuation centers. She is also concerned about the reports that there are authorities who are abusing some evacuees.
“Among the disturbing conditions mentioned by Ms. Gutoc-Tomawis is the situation of mothers and their children in Marawi, such as the cases of three women sharing one bed in a charity ward, dead babies being buried every 5 days, men rescued by authorities are being asked to remove their clothes then walk while blindfolded, and of two pregnant women who were taken by the police for questioning for whole day because they were found holding dextrose intravenous drips.” Said De Lima.
Samira Gutoc-Tomawis testified against the extension of Martial Law during the Congress’ special joint session on July 22. The session was about the Martial law extension in Mindanao.
The senator said that Jimenez-Damary’s visit would help a lot in finding legislative remedy to address the humanitarian problems the region is suffering.
“The government, under the doctrine of parens patriae, should always prioritize and address the situation of the displaced citizens in Mindanao-particularly, the surfacing humanitarian issues emerging from the intensified armed conflict between the military and of terrorist elements,” she added.