De Lima seeks UN official to visit Marawi evacuees' situation

Senator Leila de Lima said she has filed a resolution urging the government to invite a United Nations special rapporteur to see the Marawi folks who were evacuated due to the war, August 5.

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De Lima submitted senate resolution 455 asking the Department of Foreign Affairs to invite the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displace Persons, Cecilia Jimenez-Damary to examine the evacuee's situation which she claimed to get worse due to the extension of martial law in Mindanao.

"It is imperative for the Executive Department to invite Jimenez-Damary, to enable her to verify these troubling complaints, assess the actual living conditions of the IDPs within and outside evacuation camps, and to propose recommendations on how to improve such conditions going forward," she said in a statement.

A number of 351,168 residents have been moved since Maute group seized Marawi City on May 23.

Of the total, she said 17,389 individuals were staying in evacuation centers.

The opposition Senator stressed Ranao rescue team member Samira Gutoc-Tomawis revealed the difficult living situation of the evacuees during the joing Congressional session that extended martial law last July 22.

"Among the disturbing conditions mentioned by Ms. Gutoc-Tomawis is the situation of mothers and their children in Marawi, such as the cases of 3 women sharing one bed in a charity ward, dead babies being buried every 5 days, men rescued by authorities are being asked to remove their clothes then walk while blindfolded, and of two pregnant women who were taken by the PNP for questioning for a whole day because they were found holding dextrose intravenous drips," De Lima claimed.

De Lima believes the visit of the special rapporteur will help in finding legislative measures that could address the growing humanitarian crisis i Mindanao.

"The government, under the doctrine of parens patriae, should always prioritize and address the situation of the displaced citizens in Mindanao — particularly, the surfacing humanitarian issues emerging from the intensified armed conflict between the military and of terrorist elements," De Lima added.

Source: GMA NetworkABS-CBN