28 October 2008
A CALL FOR THE IMMEDIATE CESSATION OF HOSTILITIES AND RESUMPTION OF PEACE TALKS
More than 70 tri-people youth leaders coming from different organizations all over the country have gathered here in Cotabato for the conduct of the Mindanao Youth Peace Summit and Peace Mission, themed “Building Ethno-Cultural and Interfaith Bridges of Understanding among Youth.” This summit provided avenues for youth leaders to witness firsthand the effects of the ongoing armed hostilities.
The interaction of participants provided an atmosphere of dialogue and deeper understanding of the richer diversity of our cultures. The summit fostered an appreciation of the different cultural and faith backgrounds of the youth in Mindanao.
The youth leaders witnessed the glaring effects of armed violence in three conflict-affected communities. The effects of armed violence were glaring. In Datu Piang and Midsayap, thousands of evacuees lined the roads leading to the town centers, schools were turned into evacuation camps preventing youth from continuing their education, and burnt houses and military check-points marked the landscape. Basic needs such as food and medicine are scarce. Meanwhile in North Upi, though unaffected by direct violence, the Tedurays are threatened by the consequences of the worsening peace situation.
The visit provided a venue for sharing and discussing experiences regarding the peace and conflict situation as well as motivated young leaders to come up with a peace agenda, calling for the following:
- For the GRP and MILF to respect and uphold International Humanitarian Law and the human rights of civilians particularly the vulnerable sectors of women, elderly, children and youth;
- For the government, to cease all military offensives, end the humanitarian tragedy that is affecting hundreds of thousands of civilians, and immediately resume the formal peace negotiations with the MILF;
- For the UN and the international community to provide humanitarian assistance and intervention to the internally displaced persons in Mindanao, put pressure to the GRP and MILF to restart the formal negotiations.
In the midst of hopelessness with the peace situation, the Muslim, Christian and Indigenous Peoples youth in the Mindanao Youth Peace Summit and Peace Mission remain steadfast in their aspiration for a just and peaceful Mindanao.
■ GENERATION PEACE NETWORK ■ AKBAYAN! YOUTH ■ ALYANSA NG KABATAAN SA MINDANAO PARA SA KAPAYAPAAN ■ ANAK MINDANAO YOUTH ■ ■ BALAY REHABILITATION CENTER ■ BANGSAMORO WOMEN YOUTH LEAGUE ■ BANGSAMORO YOUTH LEADERS FORUM ■ BANGSAMORO CENTER FOR JUSTPEACE ■ BANGSAMORO YOUTH ASSEMBLY■ CENTER FOR PEACE EDUCATION – MIRIAM COLLEGE ■ CONSORTIUM OF BANGSAMORO CIVIL SOCIETY YOUTH ■ FORGING PARTNERSHIP IP YOUTH NETWORK ■ ■ GASTON Z. ORTIGAS PEACE INSTITUTE ■ INITIATIVES FOR INTERNATIONAL DIALOGUE ■ MINDANAO PEOPLES CAUCUS ■ MORO WOMEN DEVELOPMENT AND CULTURAL CENTER ■ SAMAHAN NG MGA KABATAANG TEDURAY■ MYPEACE ■ NAPC YOUTH AND STUDENT SECTORAL COUNCIL ■ TEDURAY LAMBANGIAN YOUTH STUDENT ASSOCIATION ■ UNITED YOUTH FOR PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT ■ YOUNG ADVOCATES FOR PEACE AND SOLIDARITY ■
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