Sulu Welcomes UNPO GA Resolution as a Roadmap towards Peace, Negotiation and Non-Violent Dialogue
On 25 July 2015, a historical ‘Ceremony of Proclamation of Recognition’ was organized by the Rajah Baginda III, in Jolo, the capital of Sulu, bringing together a large number of attendees. During the ceremony, a Resolution by the Sulu that had been adopted by the XII UNPO General Assembly on 3 July 2015 in Brussels, Belgium, was formally presented. For the occasion, the Resolution had also been translated into Tausug, the most widely spoken language in Sulu.
The Rajah Baginda III, followed by one of the representatives of Sulu to the UNPO General Assembly and their attorney, Ms Norilyana Binti Dzulkifli, spoke about the significance of the Resolution for the acknowledgment of the rights and demands of the people of Sulu, as it can serve as a roadmap for their campaign to build a better future through the notions of peace, negotiation and non-violent dialogue. The second part of the ceremony was dedicated to hoist the flags of UNPO; of the Rajah Baginda III; of the Philippines; and of SUFONETI (Sulu Foundation of Nine Ethnic Tribes, Inc) at the Office of the Rajah Baginda III, as a symbol for Sulu’s dedication to the aforementioned notions.
A Member of UNPO since November 2014, the people of Sulu, represented by the Sulu Foundation of Nine Ethnic Tribes, Inc. (SUFONETI), are now more determined to let their voices be heard by the international community, in hope of paving the way for the region’s economic, social and cultural development.
Sulu, an autonomous archipelago province located in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in the south-west Philippines, is home to a Muslim community of approximately 700 thousand. The inhabitants of Sulu have long suffered under military incursion inflicted upon them by the Philippine government in its strife against the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), and despite an end to outright fighting, the aftermath of the conflict continues to have a severe effect on them, taking expression most notably in economic deprivation and almost non-existent social welfare on the Sulu islands.