SOS ASEAN!! Statesmanship for Sabah: A time to Step In, A Time to Step Up

March 11, 2013
Press Statement by:
 Statesmanship for Sabah: A time to Step In, A Time to Step Up
In the short month’s time since the unfolding crisis of Sabah gained attention across many borders, the Secretary General of the United Nations himself, Ban Ki-moon has added his voice and concern on the issue, calling for the immediate cessation of hostilities, the grant of access to humanitarian aid, the observance of human rights and the penultimate call for dialogue to resolve the ongoing conflict. The Secretary General knows full well that while the strength of state forces being brought to bear on the dissidents may quell the armed uprising, he and the UN are well aware that it is ultimately with dialogue, discussions and negotiation that lasting peace is truly crafted.
Underscored by this example of global statesmanship, we fellow neighbors of Sabah are again reminded of our own need for such paramount and effective mechanisms in our region, a capacity to guarantee the primacy for human rights, the value of a resident echelon of statesmen, negotiators and peacemakers, a shared consciousness keenly mindful of a regional rather than parochial perspective, and a common bias for resolution rather than accommodation. For much of these in this challenging situation, we now hopefully turn our eyes on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
For over forty years and 21 summits, the ASEAN “Community” has worked on strengthening its three (3) common pillars of security, economic and socio-cultural cohesion and unity. For over forty years the ASEAN “Way” has pursued a respectful, non-interfering and non-confrontational policy in addressing intra-state and cross-border disputes and conflicts among its members.
It has also been fifty years since the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia penned the “Manila Accord”, much of which called for a peaceful resolution to the issue of Sabah, and a precursor to the formation of the ASEAN itself. And ironically, it has been less than six months since all three principals now embroiled in Sabah, were all present in the Philippines’ Malacanang Palace for the historic signing of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB).
Yet in this time of need for resolute leadership in our region, we today still find ASEAN’s voice markedly silent on Sabah. Technically, there is no mandate for the ASEAN to intervene, as Sabah is not born of a conflict between member states, but rather a conflict between a member state and a people from a fellow-member state. But this is exactly the emerging challenge for ASEAN, to recognize a higher calling beyond maintaining the status quo when humanitarian issues are at the fore, or when the marginalized plaints of the few come in conflict with the many, when maximum force takes over for maximum tolerance. This we feel is unacceptable.
Granted the maturation process the ASEAN has had since inception, we feel that it is time for the ASEAN to step up and lead in this time of crisis. We now therefore urgently call on the ASEAN to:
First, call for the immediate cessation of hostilities and guarantee the grant of humanitarian aid to all those affected and displaced by the conflict;
Second, to emplace the mechanisms and modalities to bring the parties concerned to the negotiating table for a just and lasting resolution of the issues at hand;
Third, to utilize the “Troika” and the Dispute Settlement Mechanism (DSM) allowed for by the ASEAN Charter to identify acceptable and capable mediators to guide the process to its conclusion;
Fourth, to harness the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AIHCR) as one of the essential mechanisms ensuring human rights have been observed and honored during the Sabah conflict;
Fifth, to activate the ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (AIPR) to generate the necessary information on the roots of this conflict and potential options for resolution;
Sixth, to expand the existing dispute settlement mechanisms within the ASEAN to also include the aspect of prevention to preclude existing and future disputes maturing into armed conflict;
Lastly, for the ASEAN to actively pursue a more decisive leadership role in addressing humanitarian issues as well as potential and existing conflicts wherever and whenever these occur among its member-states;
Guided by the Almighty, motivated by peace, and fueled by the humanity we all share, we submit these calls to the ASEAN and its leadership and all its member states, praying that by the acts we lead in and resolutely undertake now, the future finds us living in true expression of an ASEAN community.
Gus Miclat, Executive Director
IID Main Office  (Davao City)                               
Phone: (+6382) 2992574 & 75
Mobile: (+63)9177013099
Richel de los Santos
IID-Manila Liaison Office
Phone: (+632) 9110205; (+632)4352900
Mobile Ph: (+63)927.644.6524

IID is an advocacy and solidarity institution promoting peace, conflict prevention, democratization and right to self-determination in Southeast Asia. Our focus areas include Mindanao, Burma, Timor-Leste, South Thailand, Aceh and West Papua.
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Sabah stand-off: Timeline of security forces stepping up operations

New Straits Times
Monday, Mar 11, 2013

Here is the timeline for March 11 as Malaysian security forces step up mopping up operations in Lahad Datu to deal with the terrorists.

Bismillahir rahmanir rahim



Respect the Sanctity of Human Life At All Times

Connected globally as Muslims not only at FACEBOOK but most of all by virtue of SILAATUR RAHIM, please sign up and join me as third-party interventionists in proclaiming:

– our respect for the sanctity of Human Life at all times, regardless of color, creed, race or religion; 
-our striving as Muslims to help the oppressed as well as help the oppressors not to oppress the oppressed; 
-our recognition for the basic rules and principles of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL); and 
-our all out support for  the United Nations Agenda of prioritizing early warning and early action on preventing violent conflict to arise in any part of the world. 
As third party interventionists, we affirm that: 
1. The 235 men along with Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram under the command of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III “stand on a right” when they decided “dead or alive” to reclaim what the Sultanate justly own albeit a unilateral ceasefire was declared by the Sultan;
2. Likewise,  the Prime Minister of Malaysia “stands on a right” when he decided to declare an all out offensive against them “for as long as it takes” as well as when he decided to reject the offered truce in an act of what he believes as a defence of Malaysia’s honor and sovereignty;
Nonetheless, as much as both parties are standing on a right when they decided to be embroiled in this violent conflict, it is utterly deploring to ignore the rights by which innocent civilians consisting of vulnerable children, women, and the elderly are rooted on because like these two warring groups, these innocent civilians who are non-combatants are absolutely standing on a substantive right which is even above the rights asserted by these two conflicting groups.
THUS, we are appalled to learn that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has ordered Malaysian security forces to step up mopping up operations dubbed “Ops Daulat” (Operation Sovereignty) in Sabah to deal with the incursion by targeting areas in Lahad Datu and among others Kampung Tanduo, Semporna, Felda Sahabat, Tanjung Batu.
Furthermore, Sabah police commissioner Datuk Hamza Taib reported that 54 gunmen from Sulu were killed since the first clash on March 1; 97 people believed to have links with Sulu terrorists have been arrested for investigation; although he denied claim by the Philippine’s media that Malaysian security forces had also targeted pregnant women and children in the security crackdown.

On 5 March 2013, Royal Malaysian Air Force fighter jets, reported as F/A-18 and Hawkfighters, bombed Kiram’s camp. 

In a Kuala Lumpur rally, Prime Minister Najib said, “We started with air strike by jet fighters of Royal Malaysian Air Forces, followed by mortar strike; and as I’m speaking, the army and police forces, along with other members (of the security forces) following behind, are taking action to arrest and destroy the group which has breached the nation’s sovereignty.
On 9 March 2013, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein have said that “Ops Daulat” aimed to flush out the Sulu gunmen will end only when none of the intruders are left in Sabah. This is in view of the gunmen have not laid down their arms unconditionally. The armed forced have also maintain tight security cordon around the operation area and those with no document such as MyKad, be detained for further investigation.

We strongly urge the Malaysian government not to vent its ire on innocent civilians in Sabah; we appeal to their sense of honor not to let their wrath prevail over their mercy upon non-combatants. If they desist, then we exhort them that the crime of dishonor lies on oppressors and not upon the oppressed.
The reported indiscriminate aerial and ground military offensive is an unspeakable  violation of the Filipino civilians’ (in Sabah) right to life, and which has consequently endangered their right to human security. Moreover, this indiscriminate assault has dismally resulted to unaccounted for deaths, warrantless arrests, and most especially the displacements of thousands ofvulnerable groups consisting of children, women, and the elderly.

Appalled, we indignantly invoke the Basic Rules on IHL specifically:
1. Persons hors de combat and those not taking part in hostilities shall be protected and treated humanely.
7. Parties to a conflict shall at all times distinguish between the civilian population and combatants. Attacks shall be directed solely against military objectives. 


Our humanity is assaulted and we are disheartened We question: Are we Muslims of Sulu and Mindano not considered and recognized as Human Lives by our brethren Malaysians? Does military surgical operation necessitate the violation of the civilians’ Right to Life? We are steadfastly invoking the sanctity of human life at all times and denouncing in strongest terms the crime against it.
Nevertheless, in the spirit of peace and solidarity, as we solemnly exercise utmost restraint and sobriety as peaceful Muslims living up to what Allaah has perfected for us amidst this dreadful turn of events, we invoke on Almighty ALLAH as Al Malikul Mulk that:

a. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak will immediately end indiscriminate mopping up operations affecting substantially innocent non-combatants;
b. that His Excellency President Benigno Simeon Aquino III will intercede for the safety of our innocent citizens- in his capacity as Commander in Chief of the AFP heed our plaintive appeal and lamentation over Malaysia’s “Ops Daulat” which impacts on non-combatants as a violation of Human Life and Security; and that by his prompt intercession we may see the spirit of the Filipino Nations aspiration towards its journey for peace.

Ameen. Ameen. Ameen. 

Initiated by:
Warina Sushil A. Jukuy (Jihad al Akbar Foundation)  

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