Urgent Action

RELEASE ILLEGALLY DETAINED FARMERS AND PROVIDE RELIEF FOR COMMUNITIES AFFECTED BY DROUGHT

JASS Southeast Asia joins regional and international human rights allies in expressing its solidarity with the Filipino farmers and Lumad indigenous peoples who stood up for their right to food and resources. JASS likewise condemns the violent dispersal of the farmers and indigenous peoples in Kidapawan, North Cotabato on 1 April 2016 where 29 women are detained, including three pregnant women and six elderly individuals.

Around 6,000 farmers held a peaceful barricade at the Cotabato-Davao Highway in Kidapawan City, North Cotabato, Central Mindanao region since 30 March 2016 to ask for food relief from the government as the five-month drought due to El Niño left them and their families hungry. According to eyewitness reports, on the third day of the barricade (1 April), police forces fired shots upon the farmers to disperse the picket.

From the initial findings of the fact-finding and humanitarian mission led by justice groups in the Philippines on 6-8 April 2016, two farmers were killed by bullet wounds, 116 protesters were wounded, 87 were missing, and 78 were illegally arrested and detained. According to the Philippine human rights group Karapatan, of the 78 detained persons, 45 are men, 29 are women, four minors, and six elderly individuals. Among the women detained, three are pregnant.

Through the  #BigasHindiBala (#RiceNotBullets/ #FoodNotBullets) campaign, JASS' partners and allies in the Philippines such as the Center for Women's Resources (CWR), GABRIELA, SAMAKANA (Organization of United Urban Poor Women), and other women's groups and people's organizations - continue to call for justice. 

JASS Southeast Asia is a regional network of JASS, a global network of justice activists, scholars and popular educators in more than 30 countries worldwide committed to strengthening women’s voice, visibility and collective organizing power. JASS joins our partners and allies in the Philippines in holding the Philippine government responsible for the deaths and continuing harassment of farmers in Kidapawan City, North Cotabato. Concretely, JASS Southeast Asia calls on the Government to:

  • Facilitate the immediate release the 78 unlawfully arrested and detained protesters and accountability for the violations perpetrated against them including for the two farmers who were killed by police;
  • Provide for any medical needs and careful attention to those detainees who are pregnant and elderly;
  • Facilitate an immediate distribution of financial aid and relief goods such as rice to drought-affected farmers; and
  • Put an end to persecution and criminalization of Human Rights Defenders and peaceful protests and take all precautionary measures to ensure the integrity and safety of people.

 

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