[Statement] Protect the right to defend human rights! Freedom and Justice for Women Human Rights Defenders! -TFDP

Protect the right to defend human rights! Freedom and Justice for Women Human Rights Defenders!

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Even with the existence of laws supposedly protecting women from violence, there are still women including those working with human rights and peoples’ issues who are subjected to killings, enforced disappearance, torture, illegal arrests and detention and other human rights violations.

In celebration of International Women’s Day, Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) declares its unwavering solidarity with our women human rights defenders in calling for an end to all forms of violence against women and their children and calls on the Philippine government to free women defenders who are being politically incarcerated and demand justice for all women victims of human rights violations.

An anti-mining woman leader of the B’laan tribe in Kiblawan, Davao del Sur, Juvy Capion, also a mother of four was killed on October 18, 2012 by members of the 27th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army. The army claimed that it was a legitimate operation and that they were in pursuit of Daguil Capion, Juvy’s husband and allegedly a member of a rebel group.

Juvy Capion and her children were unarmed and resting inside their hut.

Charity Diño, 30 years old was arrested, tortured and detained on November 23, 2009.   Maricon Montaje was arrested on June 3, 2010.  They were both detained at Batangas Provincial Jail and  charged and suspected to be members of the New Peoples’ Army (NPA).

Just recently, 14 farmers including women were harassed, arrested without warrant and detained in Sarangani Province in Mindanao.  The victims include a pregnant woman and a two year old girl. The Kiamba Police, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-SarGen and 73rd Infantry battalion of the Armed Forces of the Philippines arrested the victims and raided their houses without warrant of arrest and search warrant.

They are just a few of the countless women activists and human rights defenders in the Philippines who suffered human rights violations.  Women defenders are tortured and detained. Others were even killed because of their assertion of their rights against development aggression.  Many were defenders of the right to food, housing and access to means of subsistence.  And still there are women who are fighting for freedom and against oppression.

Women deserve equal respect and protection by the law.  Women have the right to practice their political belief, freedom of expression and association. Women have the right to defend human rights. Women have human rights!

Protect women’s right to defend human rights! Freedom and justice for our women defenders! Free all political prisoners!

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