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March 7, 2013

Standoff in Lahad Datu: Engage in Dialogue Now with all stakeholders to resolve the crisis peacefully

We the undersigned Civil Society organisations (CSOs) from Malaysia and Philippines are extremely concerned over the on-going standoff between the Malaysian security forces and followers of the Sultanate of Sulu’s heirs, Jamalul Kiram III at Lahad Datu, Sabah. We the CSOs, together with all individuals, organizations and networks, urgently call upon President Benigno S. Aquino III of the Philippines, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak of Malaysia and Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, to disavow all forms of violence, and instead supports dialogue as the primary mechanism for a resolution to the siege.

We are very concerned and worried about the security of civilians in Lahad Datu, Semporna and the surrounding villages and we would like to see a peaceful solution to resolve this ongoing problem. According to media reports, at least sixty (60) people have been killed in Lahad Datu, Semporna and Kampung Tanduo, Sabah.

We believe the situation in Lahad Datu requires swift and peaceful intervention. We urge all parties to resist from using force while remaining committed to dialogue and negotiation throughout this process.

We are also very concerned with the lack of real-time information with respect to what has actually taken place so far in Lahad Datu. Up to this point the information received through the Malaysian news media lacked transparency and created unnecessary rumours and assumptions about the situation. The people has rights to get the information on on-going issues in Sabah.

In this context, we call on the governments of Malaysia and Philippines and the Sultanate of Sulu to:

    • Immediately declare a HUMANITARIAN CEASEFIRE so that agencies concerned can take immediate measures to ensure the safety of women, children, elderly and other vulnerable persons in the affected area. And provide “safe zones” where humanitarian organizations and relevant agencies can install facilities to be accessed by those who are injured and require immediate medical care; 
    • Take immediate steps to end the use of violence and to engage in dialogue with all stakeholders to resolve the crisis peacefully. 
    • Take proper measures to ensure that in the process of resolving the crisis, the human rights of everyone involved are respected and protected especially civilians from Lahad Datu, Semporna and nearby villages; 
    • Take immediate measures to secure the safety of journalists who chose to access the area at all times to ensure fair reporting and dissemination of information to the general public; 
    • Cease and desist from using excessive force and armed violence to end the prevailing conflict; 
    • Initiate an independent and impartial investigation into the killings that has taken place and make the findings of the investigation public.

We fervently dissuade all the principals involved from brinkmanship by instead living up to your respective legacies as genuine leaders of your people with honor and dignity.

We urge you to come to terms with the unfolding of events that has serious implications on many lives and social institutions. We all can’t afford that this will escalate into a grave humanitarian crisis spilling over into other nearby villages aside from Lahad Datu and Semporna, Sabah.

Time is of the essence. The world is looking at you, now.


Civil Society of Malaysia and Philippines

March 7, 2013


Please sign this joint statement to show your concern, support and commitment to resolve the issue in Sabah in a peaceful manner.



Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)


Women's Centre for Change (WCC)



Malaysian Physicians for Social Responsibility

Center for Orang Asli Concerns (COAC)

Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (JERIT)

Justice for Sisters

Seksualiti Merdeka


Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor dan Wilayah Persekutuan (PERMAS)

Community Action Network (CAN)

Persatuan Sahabat wanita Selangor

Community Development Centre (CDC)


Mindanao PeaceWeavers (MPW)

Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID)

Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy (PCID)

Free Burma Coalition – Philippines (FBCP)

Active Citizenship Foundation (ACF)

Agri-Aqua Development Coalition, Mindanao

AGONG Peace Network, Mindanao

Akbayan Citizens Action Party

Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL)

Balay Mindanao Foundation, Inc

Banwaon One Tribe, One Territory, Mindanao

Center for Peace Education – Miriam College

Citizen’s Peace Watch

Civil Peace Service Program – Southern Christian College

Coalition of Social Development Organizations

Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society

Council of Organized Social Service Agencies in Mindanao

Derepa te Erumanen ne Menuvu, Mindanao

Focus on the Global South -Philippines

Gitib Inc., Mindanao

GZO Peace Institute

Human Rights Defenders-Pilipinas (HRDP)

Institute for Popular Democracy (IPD)

Interreligious Solidarity Movement for Peace (IRSMP)

KAGDUMA, Incorporated, Mindanao

Kampanya para sa Makataong Pamumuhay (KAMP)

Kebager te Ked-Inged, Mindanao

Kahugpongan sa Mindanaw


Lumad Mindanaw Peoples’ Federation

Mindanao Peoples Peace Movement

Mindanao Peace Advocates Conference

Mindanao Coalition of Development NGO Networks (MINCODE) Secretariat

Mindanao Alliance of Self-Help Societies – Southern Philippines Educational Cooperative Center

Mindanao Congress of Development NGOs and NGIs –Mindanao

Network for Transformative Social Protection

Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA)

Partnership of Philippine Support Services Agencies – Mindanao

Pakigdait, Incorporated

Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM)

Partido ng Manggagawa (PM)

Pax Christi Institute - Philippines

Peace Advocates Zamboanga (PAZ)

People’s Alternative Studies Center for Research & Education in Social Dev’t (PASCRES)

People’s Global Exchange (PGX)

Philippine Human Rights Information Center (Philrights)

Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA)

Philippine Business for Social Progress - Mindanao

Philippine Partnership for the Devt of Human Resources in Rural Areas (PHILDHRRA)

Redemptorist Center for Social and Ecological Concerns - Mindanao



SPREAD – Oblates of Notre Dame


Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP)

Women Engaged in Action on 1325 (We Act 1325)

Women’s Human Rights and Legal Bureau (WLB)

World March of Women – Pilipinas

Young Moro Professionals


Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict – Southeast Asia (SEA-GPPAC)

Asia Pacific Solidarity Coalition (APSOC)


Asia-Pacific Movement on Debt & Development (JSAPMDD)

Coalition Against Trafficking in Women-Asia Pacific (CATW-AP)

International Peace Bureau (IPB)

ISIS International

Media Defence South East Asia



NABODHARA, Bangladesh


Generation Wave Institute


Housing Rights Task Force (HRTF)


East Timor Students Solidarity Council (ETSSC)


Asienstiftung (German Asia Foundation)

Philippinenbüro – Asienhaus


Burma Centre Delhi


All Nepal Peasants Federation (ANPFa)

All Nepal Women Association (ANWA)


Center For Peace & Civil Society (CPCS)


Prof. Anuradha Chenoy, University of India

Prof. Kamal Mitra Chenoy, University of India

Mr. Ramon Casiple, IPER, Philippines

Ms. Sia Phearum, Director, HRTF Cambodia

Mmk Tggw, Myanmar


Initiatives for International Dialogue

Mobile: 0917-7247579

Phone: (+63 82) 2992574-75, Fax: (+63 82) 299-2052
E-mail:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

IID is an advocacy and solidarity institution promoting peace, conflict prevention, democratization and the right to self-determination in Southeast Asia. Our focus areas include Mindanao, Timor Leste, West Papua, Aceh and South Thailand.

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