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MNLF CHAIRMAN NUR MISUARI SEEKS
UNITED NATION'S PROTECTIONS


UNHCR Washington, DC-based Headquarters Commits Quick Review of the Petition Filed in behalf of Bangsamoro UNESCO Peace Awardee!

       Washington, DC (December 2, 2001) Professor Nur P. Misuari, a UNESCO Peace Awardee and Chairman of the OIC-backed Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), has formally sought protection from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees earlier today.

       Following an instruction secretly sent by Chairman Misuari from an unknown Malaysian detention facility, Sultan Sadar Elly Velez Pamatong of the Royal Sultanates of Mindanao, a practicing international lawyer, formally filed a petition for political asylum or assistance with the UNHCR's offices based in Geneva, Kuala Lumpur, and Washington, D.C. in behalf of the Bangsamoro legendary leader for the independence of Mindanao, Southern Philippines.

       Given the fact that time is of the essence in the petition filed in behalf of Chairman Misuari, Attorney Andrew Painter of the UNHCR in Washington, DC said he would move as quickly as possible to see to it that Misuari's rights under the 1951 Refugee Convention and Protocol are upheld and protected by the Malaysian government and the free world. Accordingly, Attorney Painter has alerted UNHCR's offices in Geneva and Kuala Lumpur.

       Through his counsel, Misuari claims that he has the "right of safe passage" under the 1951 UN Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, of which the Philippine is a signatory, and the Malaysian Government has no internationally-sanctioned authority to hold in him detention while en route to a freedom-loving location or country.

       Misuari is currently the Governor of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and the President of the proposed Bangsamoro Republik covering the islands of Palawan, mainland Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago.

       However, Misuari was recently accused by the Philippine Government of ordering an attack against a segment of the Philippine Military establishment in Southern Philippines and thereby ordered arrested. En route to the Middle East, MNLF Chairman Misuari and his close associates were seized and detained by the Malaysian Government for alleged unlawful intrusion into its territorial waters.

       Despite Malaysia's recognition of the Misuari group's status of belligerency coupled with Misuari's record as UNESCO's Peace Prize awardee, Prime Minister Mahathir, a Muslim like Misuari, and President Macapagal Arroyo claim that Misuari is a "terrorist" and as such is entitled to no asylum anywhere in the world.

       Speaking in defense of his client, Sultan Sadar Elly Velez Pamatong, said that given Chairman's Misuari's long-recorded struggle to regain the Bangsamoro independence peacefully within the democratic framework, Misuari cannot, and never be, considered a terrorist. Said he: " How can the unconstitutionally installed Macapagal-Arroyo government brand Chairman Misuari a "terrorist" after recently offering him the ambassadorship to Turkey?" "It is simply ridiculous to offer a very honorable diplomatic position to a "terrorist" who is at the same time a UNESCO peace awardee," Sultan Pamatong added.

       Sultan Sadar Elly Velez Pamatong further claims that in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 bombing of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, MNLF Chairman Nur. P. Misuari immediately instructed him to denounce the terrorists' recklessly assault against a civilian population and to send a letter of condolence to President George Bush, which he did. But, despite Misuari's commitment to regain the Bangsamoro independence within the framework of a peaceful and democratic process, Sultan Sadar Elly Velez Pamatong said that the Macapagal-Arroyo government has desperately tried all means to associate Chairman Misuari with the Abbu Sayaff, a Philippine-based terrorist group in Southern Philippines, in order to mislead and redirect the might of the US armed forces against the Mindanaoans' legitimate aspiration to regain their independence.

       To prove his point, Misuari stressed that, as governor of the ARMM, Misuari once unleashed his forces against the Abbu Sayaff but was stopped at midstream by the Philippine Government. He said it was possible the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) wanted to keep the Abu Sayaf alive to keep its annual budget very high. Moreover, Misuari pointed out that the presence of the Abu Sayaf is serving the interest of the Philippine Government more than it is enhancing the cause of world peace in that the latter can use it as a reason to ask for more financial and military assistance from the United States and the free world.

       "But the Philippine Government sadly lacks any international credibility because, so far, it has been ranked the 4th most corrupt institution in the world by the IMF and by the Philippine Ombudsman," the Muslim leader commented. "I want the world to know that my crime, if any, simply flows my driving dream to liberate my people from an extremely corrupt environment," he added.

       Finally, Misuari said he has instructed his lawyer to seek the assistance of President George Bush. "To brand me as a terrorist, is no different from calling Jefferson a terrorist because I am simply following his belief that it is the right of a people to alter or abolish a government that has ceased to advance their interest and aspirations," he said. "I am therefore challenging the President of the United States to give me a chance to prove my lifetime commitment to the cause of freedom and democracy. Given a reasonable time, my forces can wipe out all the terrorists from the face of Mindanao, and we do not need the United States Special Forces to do that.

       STATEMENT ISSUED BY:
       GOVERNOR NUR P. MISUARI
       CHAIRMAN, MORO NATIONAL LIBERATION FRONT
       PRESIDENT, PROPOSED BANGSAMORO REPUBLIC
       PERMANENT OBSERVER, ORGANIZATION OF THE ISLAMIC CONFERENCE
       THROUGH HIS COUNSEL: SULTAN SADAR ELLY VELEZ PAMATONG, ESQ.
       TELEPHONE: (212) 322 1512 E-MAIL: EVPAMATONG@AOL.COM

       SIGNED:
       SULTAN SADAR ELLY VELEZ PAMATONG
      
ENCLOSURES: 7-PAGE PETITION FOR POLITICAL ASYLUM

 

 

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Copyright 2001 by MNLF, Cotabato City