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Resolution on the Peace Negotiations between
the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and
the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP),
The JASIG, the CARHRIHL, and the Joint Monitoring Committee


International Association of People's Lawyers
16 October 2006

Whereas, the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) have engaged in formal negotiations since 1992 to resolve the roots of the armed conflict in the Philippines;

Whereas, in the Joint Declaration signed on September 1, 1992 in The Hague, the parties to the armed conflict have agreed that the "holding of peace negotiations must be in accordance with mutually acceptable principles, including national sovereignty, democracy and social justice;"

Whereas, the parties have also agreed in The Hague Joint Declaration of 1992 that the substantive agenda of the formal peace negotiations shall be on human rights and international humanitarian law, socio-economic reforms, political and constitutional reforms and end of hostilities and disposition of forces;

Whereas, The Hague Joint Declaration of 1992 has never been repudiated by either party as the framework of the peace negotiations in 14 years of negotiations;

Whereas, the parties have forged in 1998 a landmark Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), the first comprehensive agreement in the substantive agenda of the peace negotiations;

Whereas, the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations have produced 15 other major and minor bilateral agreements;

Whereas, the parties under the CARHRIHL have obligated themselves to adhere to and be bound by the principles and standards embodied in international instruments on human rights and the generally accepted principles and standards of international humanitarian law;

Whereas, in order to monitor its implementation, the CARHRIHL provided for the formation of a Joint Monitoring Committee which shall meet every three months and as often as deemed necessary by the co-chairpersons due to an urgent issue or complaint;

Whereas, the NDFP postponed the scheduled round of formal talks in August 2004 to allow or give time to the GRP to fulfill its obligations as stated in the Oslo Joint Statements of 2004;

Whereas, these prejudicial issues stated include the failure to indemnify human rights victims under the Marcos regime, the non-release of political prisoners, the failure to take effective measures against the "terrorist" listing of the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People's Army and NDFP chief political consultant Prof. Jose Ma. Sison as well as his continuing political persecution; and the series of political killings of farmers, workers, activists, partylist members, churchpeople, lawyers and journalists;

Whereas, the GRP demand for a prolonged ceasefire as a precondition to the resumption of formal talks violates the principle enshrined in The Hague Joint Declaration that "no precondition shall be made to negate the inherent character and purpose of the peace negotiations;"

Whereas, the GRP responded to the NDFP postponement by suspending formal negotiations in December 2004;

Whereas, the JMC has not met after April 15, 2004 because of the insistence of the GRP that the JMC can meet only if there are formal negotiations which is contrary to the provisions in the CARHRIHL on the JMC;

Whereas, the GRP unilaterally suspended the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) on August 2005 in violation of the provisions of the JASIG itself;

Whereas, in the wake of the unilateral suspension by the GRP of JASIG, NDFP negotiators, consultants and staffers have either been killed, abducted or charged with rebellion in violation of the JASIG such as the killing of Sotero Llamas and the abductions of Leopoldo Ancheta, Ariel Beloy, Rogelio Calubad, and Prudencio Calubid;

Whereas, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ordered on June 16, 2006 the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to wipe out the New People's Army (NPA) within two years and authorized the release of PhP 1 Billion to buy Huey helicopters, attack helicopters and other aircraft;

Whereas, this order by President Arroyo have resulted in more civilian deaths and other violations of international humanitarian law as in other conflict situations where aerial bombardment was heavily used;

Whereas, despite the suspension of formal talks, the Joint Secretariat of the JMC has continued to receive numerous complaints of violations of the CARHRIHL from all parts of the Philippines;

Whereas, there is clamor by the victims and their families to take up, investigate and resolve these complaints, especially in the context of the unabated cases of summary executions and abductions;

Whereas, despite the failure of the JMC to meet, the NDFP has made repeated offers to the GRP to form an ad-hoc committee to be composed of the independent observers to the JMC as well as representatives of the Royal Norwegian Government and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to investigate specific cases of summary executions and forced disappearances but the GRP has refused these only belatedly, insisting that they are not within the mandate of the JMC;

WHEREFORE, we, delegates to the 3rd Congress of the International Association of People's Lawyers (IAPL) resolve, as it is hereby resolved, to call and enjoin for the

" Immediate resumption of formal talks in the peace negotiations within the framework of The Hague Joint Declaration of 1992;

" Full implementation of the CARHRIHL by convening the JMC, investigating the complaints filed and to undertake the most immediate, adequate and effective measures to address these complaints; and

" Respect for the integrity of the negotiations by ensuring the immunity and safety of all participants in the peace negotiations, including staffers and consultants.

We further resolve to reiterate and confirm previous similar resolutions issued by the IAPL Board of Governors as well as the IAPL 2nd Congress in 2003 on the matter of the violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed by State forces and agents under the Philippine government of President Arroyo, on the peace negotiations, the CARHRIHL, on the continuing political persecution of NDFP Chief Political Consultant Prof. Sison and on the similar attacks on those involved in the peace negotiations.

Adopted this 16th day of October 2006, Davao City, Philippines.

INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF PEOPLE'S LAWYERS
Oudegracht 36
3511 AP Utrecht
The Netherlands
Tel & Fax: +31-30-2145593
Email: iapl@iapl.net
Website: http://www.iapl.net

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