Saturday, September 22, 2018
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Women speak up on on Marawi

05:02 AM October 09, 2017

We, the undersigned women’s organizations, civil society groups, and concerned individuals from the Philippines and around the world, express our solidarity with the people of Marawi, in light of the terror attacks in the city. We also express concern over the spate of killings related to the war on drugs.

We condemn the sexual violence committed against women in Marawi. The threat of rape and harassment, as well as the lack of privacy in crowded shelters, creates widespread fear and increases vulnerabilities among women. Displaced women, especially those who are pregnant or have just given birth also face increased reproductive health risks.


Since President Duterte came to power in July 2016, thousands have been killed as a result of his administration’s war on drugs; 21 of those are below 18 years old and eight are below 10 years old. Nearly all are people living in abject poverty. However, no big drug lords including those who have ties with high-level government officials have been arrested. National and international human rights organizations, the United Nations,
European Union, some members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and individual world leaders are some of those that have expressed deep concern about the spate of killings.

We strongly recommend a multisectoral independent committee composed of representatives from government, the Philippine National Police, civil society, church, and local government units to facilitate a dialogue and action to find nonviolent and humane ways to address the drug problem such as educating the youth on the ill effects of illegal drugs and improving rehabilitation programs.

We call on the Philippine government to go beyond militaristic and state-centric response to terrorism. Genuine and lasting peace can only be achieved if root causes of conflict and violence — poverty, injustice, gender inequality, and social exclusion — are eliminated.

We would like to remind the Philippine government of its commitment to international human rights and humanitarian laws. We also urge the government to honor its obligations under UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and 1820 on Women, and Peace and Security; the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and address the needs and concerns of the people in Marawi including the special needs of women
and girls.

We call for heightened vigilance not only among women’s and peace groups, but among all members of civil society, to ensure that, even in the height of crisis, the rights of the Filipino people to life and dignity, regardless of sex, culture, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and faith tradition, remain protected.

MAVI CABRERA-BALLEZA, international coordinator, Global Network of Women Peacebuilders, New York; JASMIN NARIO-GALACE, executive director, Center for Peace Education-Miriam College; WITH MORE THAN 100 OTHER SIGNATORIES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

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TAGS: drug killings, extrajudicial killings, Inquirer letters, Marawi siege, Mavi Cabrera-Balleza, Mindanao martial law, Rodrigo Duterte
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