Media Statement

21 December 2001


Political Asylum for Nur Misuari Pending Peaceful Resolution 

We are deeply concerned over the deteriorating political and security situation in the southern Philippines suggesting that the peace agreements worked out with the help of several governments in the region have not achieved a just and lasting settlement.

While we are opposed to violence as a means to seek political and economic solution, the situation must be viewed in proper perspective.

The problems of the Muslims in the Philippines, especially in the south, are complex and longstanding. Economic impoverishment and social marginalization have long been among the root causes of the political strife in the region. Permanent peace will be difficult to achieve unless these root causes are sincerely and effectively addressed.

Nur Misuari was elected Governor of the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), but was unable to be effective due to poor administrative and financial support from the central government and others.

It is therefore unfair to criticize him alone for the lack of development in a region which has long been impoverished and neglected. The recent clumsy attempts by certain quarters to link him with the Abu Sayyaf kidnappings in Sipadan indicate the dishonesty of such efforts.

We believe that Nur Misuari still has an important role to play in efforts towards achieving a just and lasting solution to the Moro question. It is also clear that the Filipino authorities are playing games with the Malaysian government to delay, if not avoid taking custody of Nur Misuari.

In the spirit of Eid and Christmas seasons of greetings and goodwill, we urge the Malaysian authorities to continue working towards an amicable, just and lasting solution by involving the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and representative Muslim leaders from the Philippines.

In the circumstances, if the Malaysian authorities will not favourably consider Misuari's request for political asylum, we urge the Malaysian government to allow him to seek and obtain political asylum in a third country, to enable him to continue working for a peaceful, just and lasting resolution of the issue.

We also call upon all Muslim groups and organizations in Mindanao to reaffirm their commitment to peace and to come together to work towards a peaceful and lasting resolution based on self-determination, social justice and economic upliftment of the Moro people.


Abdul Rahman Othman
Deputy President
National Justice Party (keADILan)