The Philippines army has rubbished that the allegations of violent human rights abuse taken place in Marawi city during the recent military siege. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said there has not been any formal complaint raised in the region, where the military crackdown against Islamists occurred.
More than 1,100 people have been killed and thousands have been displaced during the five-month-long siege which ended in late October. President Rodrigo Duterte announced he was clamping martial law in the southern region after home-grown Maute militant group and the Abu Sayyaf, which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (Isis), captured many parts of the city.
Speaking on Sunday, 17 November, the AFP's spokesperson Major General Restituto Padilla said the Filipino troops had not violated international regulations while implementing the martial law in the troubled Marawi city.
"I want to remind everyone that what had been said and found in the [Amnesty International's] report were currently allegations. You have seen the commitment or focus of our soldiers and the armed forces to uphold human rights in that area and the rest of Mindanao while martial law is being implemented," the military spokesman told reporters.
"If these are allegations, they will remain allegations unless there are concrete and formal report that come our way and we will act on it," he added.
He was responding to the latest accusations made by the rights group Amnesty International, which said the Marawi siege had left a "trail of death and destruction". While the London-headquartered human rights group urged the Duterte administration to look into "serious violations of international humanitarian law," it said the civilians were the most affected in the region after extremists had been uprooted.
"Marawi's civilian population has suffered immensely amid one of the Philippine military's most intensive operations in decades. Displaced en masse when the fighting began in May, thousands of people are now returning to a city that has been utterly destroyed in places, where civilians have been slaughtered by militants, and both sides have committed abuses," said Tirana Hassan, Crisis Response Director at Amnesty International, after releasing a 34-page document, which include interviews from victims.