𝐑𝐄𝐀𝐃|”𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐒𝐓𝐎𝐋𝐄𝐍 𝐈𝐍𝐍𝐎𝐂𝐄𝐍𝐂𝐄: 𝐂𝐎𝐍𝐃𝐄𝐌𝐍𝐈𝐍𝐆 𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐒𝐓𝐀𝐓𝐄𝐌𝐄𝐍𝐓 𝐎𝐅 𝐓𝐄𝐎𝐃𝐎𝐑𝐎 𝐋𝐎𝐂𝐒𝐈𝐍 𝐉𝐑. 𝐀𝐆𝐀𝐈𝐍𝐒𝐓 𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐏𝐀𝐋𝐄𝐒𝐓𝐈𝐍𝐈𝐀𝐍 𝐂𝐇𝐈𝐋𝐃𝐑𝐄𝐍”
The Bangsamoro Human Rights Commission (BHRC) strongly condemns the inhumane, derogatory and discriminatory statement of Philippine Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Teodoro Locsin Jr., on the Palestinian children and to the Muslim community.
In his recent post (now deleted), Locsin said: “That’s why Palestinian children should be killed; they might grow up to become as gullible as innocent Palestinians letting Hamas launch rebels at Israel—not that they could stop them, but that’s no excuse. They are Muslims. They could stage mass suicide attacks against Hamas until the latter ran out of bullets…”
“I obviously was not advocating for the literal death of anyone, but rather simply for the end of any ideology that condones terrorism in any way, shape or form.”
This statement sarcastically pointing out the mass killing of helpless Palestinian children is unacceptable, as it denotes a disregard for the protection of the most vulnerable members of society. Killing children is an abhorrent and heinous act that goes against the fundamental principles of humanity. Every child, regardless of their race and religion, deserves an inherent and unequivocal right to live, grow, and thrive in a peaceful environment. Such a statement also shows an utter disregard for the right to life, a basic human right.
Moreover, associating Muslims with terrorism is a blatant religious discrimination. This is an alarming Islamophobia that may invite perpetuation of the stigma attached generally to Muslims. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), of which the Philippines is a state party, prohibits any discrimination and guarantees all persons equal and effective protection against discrimination on any ground, including religion.
The Israel-Palestine conflict has resulted in the massive destruction of entire neighborhoods of homes in Palestine and displaced hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. According to the Gaza Health Ministry, thousands of Palestinians, including children and women, have died over the past few weeks.
Amid this horrible and harrowing situation, it is truly disheartening for a duty-bearer, a high-ranking diplomat, to promote violence against humanity through posting statement which can be seriously devastating and demoralizing, especially on the part of people affected by the war. His inhumane statement against the Palestinian children has no place in the democratic country he represents. For this reason, the BHRC, as an independent human rights institution of the Bangsamoro, is now calling for the resignation of Teodoro Locsin Jr. as Ambassador. He is no longer fit for the position and does not deserve anymore the trust reposed in him by the government of the Philippines.
With the crisis happening in Palestine and Israel, the BHRC reminds every citizen, especially duty bearers, to practice diligence and circumspection in their words and actions so as not to add pain to those who are suffering because of the war. Let us be mindful that while we have our own rights, in the exercise thereof, we must not trample on the human rights of others.