“We deserve a government that does not play with ‘human rights’ rhetoric and inflicts grave human rights violations against women and the people.”– Cristina Palabay, convener of Tanggol Bayi and Karapatan secretary general
By RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA — An organization of women rights defenders scored President Benigno S. Aquino III for the continuing human rights violations against women.
Citing data from the human rights alliance Karapatan, Tanggol Bayi said 18 women were victims of extrajudicial killings while 23 women were arrested and detained under the Aquino administration. They are among the 34 women political prisoners who languish in jails because of trumped up criminal charges, according to Tanggol Bayi.
“The BS Aquino administration should be held accountable for these attacks against women human rights defenders,” Cristina Palabay, convener of Tanggol Bayi and Karapatan secretary general, said.
On Nov. 28, on the eve of the International Day of Women Human Rights Defenders, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution calling on all states “to publicly condemn violence against women human rights defenders, amend legislation that hinders them and give activists free access to UN bodies.”
In 2005, the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition, a coalition of 28 organizations from different countries declared Nov. 29 as the International Day of Women Human Rights Defenders.
Juvy and her two sons were killed on October 18, 2012 when elements of the 27th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army strafed the hut where they were staying in Kiblawan, Davao del Sur. Juvy was a known leader of Kalgad, a local group of B’laan tribe opposed to SMI-Xstrata’s Tampakan gold-copper project. Cristina Jose was a leader of survivors of typhoon Pablo who was gunned down on March 4 this year at Baganga bridge, Davao Oriental. Before her death, Jose was vilified by the 67th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army as councilor of the revolutionary group New People’s Army (NPA).
“Neglect characterized the response of the Aquino administration during the recent devastation brought about by super typhoon Haiyan (Philippine name Yolanda). This is typical of the BS Aquino government as shown by the plight of the victims of typhoon Pablo,” Kiri Dalena, convener of Tanggol Bayi said. “It such a shame that those courageous women who rose above the crisis to demand for government response are getting killed,” Dalena said.
“It is even more shameful that perpetrators of attacks against women human rights defenders are walking free – free to commit further repression and violence,” Dalena added.
No one has been punished for the murder of the two human rights defenders. Last month, the local prosecutor in Digos City, Davao del Sur dismissed the murder charges against soldiers implicated in the massacre of the Capion family.
Tanggol Bayi also opposed the massive deployment and operations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in rural and urban poor communities under Aquino’s counter-insurgency program, Oplan Bayanihan. “This also puts the lives and security of their children at risk,” Palabay said.
“We deserve a government that does not play with ‘human rights’ rhetoric and inflicts grave human rights violations against women and the people. We do not need a repressive and anti-people people government, especially with more than three years of injustice under the BS Aquino administration,” Palabay further said.
The group expressed solidarity with women human rights defenders in other countries “…[w]e share the same sufferings from state repression and oppression and the struggle for the advancement of human rights,” they said.