Attacks against Moro communities, Moro rights defenders escalate

Karapatan strongly condemns the recent killing of another woman human rights defender in Mindanao. On the afternoon of September 23, 2018, Mariam Uy Acob, 43, a paralegal of Kawagib Moro Human Rights Alliance in Maguindanao and a leader of Tindeg Bangsamoro, was gunned down by suspected military agents. Kawagib Moro Human Rights Alliance is among the member-organizations of Karapatan.

Acob was on a motorcycle on her way home to Brgy. Dapiawan, Datu Saudi Ampatuan from Mamasapano town. Upon reaching Brgy. Tukanalipao, two assailants shot her seven times - on her chest, stomach, shoulder, and the rest on her back. This resulted to her instantaneous death. Kawagib reported that Acob was a staunch critic of militarization in Moro communities. She consistently denounced aerial bombardment and encampment in Moro communities, notably those perpetrated by the 40th Infantry Battalion under the 6th Infantry Division.

“We condemn anew the military’s handiwork under martial law, mercilessly zeroing in on human rights defenders. We likewise offer our condolences to the family of Mariam Acob, and remember all women human rights defenders killed by fascist governments who know no solution but to kill. The killing of Acob is another blood on this regime’s hands,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay.

Acob fought and stood for the lifting of martial law, the removal of troops in Moro communities and an end to the airstrikes terrorizing her communities. “Her demands reflect the demands of millions of our Moro brothers and sisters who experience State terrorism,” added Palabay. 

The killing of Acob comes days after the massacre of seven young men in Patikul, Sulu on September 14, 2018, while the latter were harvesting fruits in Sitio Bato, Brgy. Kabuntakas, Patikul. The bodies of the men were recovered a day later, riddled with bullets, while the 55th IBPA released a statement that they massacred Abu Sayyaf members.

“Not only are there numerous rights violations done against Moro communities, but they are also veiled and justified under labels of “terrorists” and “enemies of the State”. The government has been directing people to believe, especially under martial law, that Moro communities are the purveyors of terrorism and thus they deserve to be subjected to harassment, airstrikes, forced evacuations, and other abuses. What are conveniently left in the shadows are the years of oppression, repression and discrimination, and the justified and necessary resistance of Moro communities against continuing State terrorism,” Palabay said.

“As we call for justice for Acob, the victims of the Patikul massacre, and others victimized by the Duterte regime, we simultaneously amplify the call to end martial law in Mindanao. Martial law has not solved anything, but has merely increased the power of an abusive institution that is behind these attacks against the Filipino people,” Palabay concluded.


Cristina Palabay, Secretary General, +639173162831 (on WhatsApp and Viber) 

Karapatan Public Information Desk, 0918-9790580