Women Living Under Muslim Laws – Appeal for women human rights defenders in the Philippines

Dear Tanggol Bayi,

Please find below a copy of the appeal that WLUML – Women Living Under Muslim Laws sent via mail and email to all persons concerned.


Yasmin Ghrawi

Communications and Advocacy Officer

Women Living Under Muslim Laws

International Coordination Office

Unit 23, 25-27 Bickerton Road, London N19 5JT, United Kingdom

Tel:            +44 (0)207 263 0285       – Fax:+44 (0)207 561 9882

Website: www.wluml.org

Sent: 05 December 2012 11:00
To: ‘op@president.gov.ph
Subject: Appeal for women human rights defenders

His Excellency Benigno C. Aquino III,

We are writing to express our deep concern on the increasing number of government-sponsored violations against Filipina human rights defenders who defend their rights to land and life. These indigenous women leaders and environmental activists are leaders of their communities who speak up against the entry of foreign mining corporations to protect the environment and their ancestral domain. They have been targeted and vilified by state security forces. They have been killed, harassed and charged with trumped-up cases.

Among the cases of rights violations against women human rights defenders (WHRDs) in the Philippines are that of:

a)      The massacre of indigenous WHRD Juvy Capion and her two children in Davao del Sur by elements of the 27th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army;

b)      The abduction and illegal detention of Julia Manlusag in Sitio Kiranggol, Brgy. Dao, San Fernando, Bukidnon by paramilitary groups under the 8th Infantry Battalion of the Phil. Army;

c)       Threats and harassment against Benedictine missionary Sr. Stella Matutina, indigenous women leaders Bae Adelfa Belayong and Bebeth Calinawan Enriquez

We are concerned that the continuous implementation of the Philippine government’s counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan will cause more human rights violations as those inflicted on the abovementioned women human rights defenders and civilians.

The killings, threats, harassment, and military operations and occupation of communities are all being conducted under the guise of the military’s “winning the peace” operations, when in truth and in fact, the list of violations, especially among the indigenous peoples, farmers and environmental advocates defending their right to land and life, goes on.

In support of women human rights defenders we urge you to:

  1. Immediately act to stop the killings and attacks against women human rights defenders;
  2. Pull out military troops in communities and disband the paramilitaries;
  3. Stop the labeling and targeting of human rights defenders as “members of front organizations of the communists” and “enemies of the state;”
  4. Immediately render justice for those whose rights are violated and file cases against the perpetrators;
  5. Withdraw the counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan, which victimizes civilians and human rights defenders;
  6. Observe and respect all international human rights instruments such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and other major obligations.

Yours sincerely,
Fatou Sow

International Director

Women Living Under Muslim Laws – International Solidarity Network, London, United Kingdom


About Tanggol Bayi

Established in 2008, Tanggol Bayi is an association of women human rights defenders (WHRDs) in the Philippines. It is formed primarily for the recognition, advancement, and protection of the rights of women human rights defenders who are advocating for the realization of human rights.
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