Philippine’s President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to bomb tribal schools in places held by communist rebels. The president accused the Lumad schools of operating illegally and radicalising children to rebel against the government.
“Get out of there, I’m telling the Lumads now. I’ll have those bombed, including your structures,” the president said. “I will use the armed forces, the Philippine air force. I’ll really have those bombed … because you are operating illegally and you are teaching the children to rebel against government,” he said in a televised address on Monday.
However, human rights groups have called on Duterte to perish his threat, saying it is a war crime if executed.
The US-based Human Rights Watch said international humanitarian law “prohibits attacks on schools and other civilian structures unless they are being used for military purposes”, adding that deliberate attacks on civilians, including students and teachers, “is also a war crime”.