Philippines: WHRDIC Statement: Women Human Rights Defenders are targeted
for legitimate human rights advocacy

The Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition (WHRDIC), of
which OMCT is a member, is a resource and advocacy network supporting
women human rights defenders worldwide.

The Philippines: Women Human Rights Defenders are targeted for
legitimate human rights advocacy

http://www.omct.org/human-rights-defenders/statements/philippines/2015/08/d23323/

The Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition (WHRDIC) is
dismayed at the increasing malicious attacks and threats perpetrated by
State agents against women human rights defenders (WHRDs) resisting
repression and operations of mining companies in the Philippines, and
stands in solidarity with them and their meaningful contributions to our
pursuit of living in just, equal, free and democratic societies.

Attacks attempting to impede the work of WHRDs in the Philippines occur
inthe following ways: i) vilification and surveillance of WHRDs; ii)
arbitrary arrests and criminalization of their work protected by
international human rights treaties to which the government of the
Philippines is a party; and iii) extrajudicial killings.

Some emblematic cases, representing large numbers of the ones documented
by WHRDs in the Philippines, illustrate the growing threats against
WHRDs and their shrinking operative environment and include:

· On July 11, 2015, it was reported that trumped up charges have
been brought against WHRD Honey May Suazo, Secretary General of the
Southern Mindanao Regional Chapter of the KARAPATAN (Alliance for the
Advancement of People’s Rights) in an attempt to silence her and derail
her work. Ms. Suazo has been instrumental in overseeing factfinding
missions in highly militarized communities and documenting violations
committed by military troops in the Southern Mindanao Region. In the
same indictment, WHRD Cristina Palabay, Secretary General ofthe
KARAPATAN, was also implicated to silence her committed oppositionto
ongoing militarization of Mindanao and escalating human rights abusesin
the region. Cristina Palabay is an internationally renowned women’s
rights and human rights activists in the Philippines.

· Since April 28, 2015, at least nine WHRDs working within public
sector trade unions received repeated threats. These WHRDs were
harassedby alleged members of the military and police who warned them
that their families would face reprisals if they didn’t cooperate with
the authorities.

· As of 30 March 2015, 48 WHRDs faced politically-­‐motivated,
unwarranted and arbitrary arrests based on trumped up charges. WHRDs
targetedfor their human rights activism are working on gender-‐based
violence, agrarian issues, impacts of mining and other trans­‐national
businesses, militarization, freedom of expression and association,
women’s political participation, among many other pressing human rights
concerns.

· Since July 2010, 28 WHRDs have been murdered. Among them isMs.
Cristina Jose, community organizer of typhoon survivors in Mindanao, who
was brutally killed on March 4, 2013, after leading her community and
typhoon survivors in protests emphasising government’s negligence in
handling natural disasters and calling for action.These extrajudicial
killings under the Aquino administration have gone largely
uninvestigated and no perpetrators have been brought tojustice.

The WHRD IC firmly calls on the government of the Philippinesto:

i) immediately and unconditionally remove all unwarrantedand arbitrary
restrictions on peaceful operations ofWHRDs;
ii) implement safeguards to provide a conducive environment forall human
rights work;
iii) start effective investigations into threats and attacks againstWHRDs.

The WHRDIC expresses its solidarity with our sisters in the
Philippinesand continues to be inspired by their human rights advocacy.

Notes

The Women Human Rights Defender International Coalition is a
resourceandadvocacy network supporting women human rights defenders
worldwide. We have 32 members:

Amnesty International (AI)
Asia Pacific Forum on Women,
Law and Development (APWLD)
Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM ASIA)
The Association for Progressive Communications Women’s Networking
Support Programme (APC WNSP)
Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID)
BAOBAB for Women’s Human Rights (BAOBAB)
Center for Reproductive Rights(CRR)
Center for Women’s Global Leadership(CWGL)
Coalition of African Lesbians (CAL)
Frida the Young Feminist Fund
Front Line Defenders
Human Rights First
Information Monitor (INFORM)
International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific (IWRAW-­‐AP)
Isis International
ISIS Women’s International Cross-­Cultural Exchange (ISIS­‐WICCE)
Just Associates (JASS)
The Latin American
and Caribbean Committee for the Defense of Women’s Rights (CLADEM)
MADRE
Nazra for Feminist Studies
Nobel Women’s Initiative (NWI)
Peace Brigades International
Rainbow Rights Project (R‐Rights), Inc.
Society for Appraisal & Women Empowerment in Rural Areas (SAWERA)
Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights (UAF)
Women Living under Muslim Laws (WLUML)
Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights
Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice (WIGJ)
Women’s Rehabilitation Centre (WOREC)
World Organisation against Torture (OMCT)

Andy Whitmore (Whit)
Indigenous Peoples Links (PIPLinks)
Coordinator
Finspace, 225-229 Seven Sisters Road, London, N4 2DA
Ph: +44 (0)775 439 5597
Email: comms@piplinks.org
Web: http://www.piplinks.org
Skype: mantissa88

“The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.” – Bertrand Russell