Stop the War in Mindanao

Asian youth religious leaders called for a stop to war in Mindanao for the sake of the women, youth and children and pledged humanitarian support for the evacuees.

In a collective statement in culminating three-day summit in Davao City Thursday, the religious youth leaders of the Religions for Peace Asia and Pacific Youth Network from 16 countries in Asia, representing Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Muslim, Shinto, Sikh, Zoroastrian and the Indigenous appealed for peace and for an immediate cessation of hostilities in Mindanao.

“We call for the return of all stakeholders to the negotiation table and return to the path of peace. The many years of painstaking efforts and progress made between the government and various stakeholders should not be overlooked or abandoned,” they said in a statement read out loud by Lawrence Chong of Singapore, Coordinator of the Asian Team of the World Conference of Religions for Peace (WCRP).

The group also urged the United Nations to review the situation and take relevant action as the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) continues to grow.

“We, call for the security forces to respect international norms pertaining to existing evacuation centers and to allow free access to aid for the people of Mindanao.”

The 90 youth leaders also presented their action plan for Mindanao which they will also present to the national summit in Manila and to international fora such as the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and the United Nations.

Their objective, the group said is to “build a sustainable momentum of peaceful measures to keep the spotlight on Mindanao until peace negotiations resume towards a lasting and peaceful resolution to the conflict”. – PNA

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