Women’s Front: For the defense of HR women defenders


Dear sisters and fellow human rights advocates,

Political persecution is on the rise and human rights violations remain unabated in the Philippines. As extra-judicial killings, abductions and disappearances continue, leaders and members of militant and progressive organizations in the Southern Tagalog region now face fabricated legal offensives in an attempt to immobilize those critical of the Arroyo administration.

Last September 26, 72 leaders and spokespersons of progressive organizations, and political activists from Southern Tagalog were charged with murder and multiple frustrated murder for the alleged assault of a police detachment in Puerto Galera, Mindoro Oriental. Since October 23, 2008, six of the 72 individuals have already been arrested and detained.

Among those charged and facing possible arrest are 20 women leaders,activists and women rights defenders including: Helen Asdolo, Gabriela Southern Tagalog secretary-general and Gabriela Women’s Party 5th nominee; Regional Coordinator Amelita Sto. Tomas, Gabriela and Gabriela Women’s Party Provincial Coordinator for CaviteLuz Baculo, Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan (Pamantik-KMU) secretary-general; Doris Cuario, Karapatan Southern Tagalog secretary-general; Dina Capetillo. Karapatan Batangas spokesperson; Sheryll Villegas, Bayan-Cavite secretary- general; and Karen Ortiz, Cavite Ecumenical Movement for Justice and Peace Deputy secretary-general.

We appeal for your support. Together let us bring due attention to the criminalization of activists, the political persecution, human rights violations and injustice that the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo regime has unleashed anew against women rights defenders in the Southern Tagalog region. #

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