Philippines

Filipina human trafficking Mary Jane Veloso who is on death row on Indonesia for alleged drug charges is touted as the woman that rallied her country. In the Philippines, Indonesia, and the rest of Southeast Asia and the world – migrant rights organizations, women’s and other justice groups led different initiatives – all to save Mary Jane from impending execution. Vigils and protest actions were held, petition letters were sent, and signature campaigns as well as social media campaigns were launched. Indeed, Mary Jane’s case was a testament to the power of movements.
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What does online activism mean for urban poor women? Misty Lorin, an urban poor community organizer of SAMAKANA (Samahan ng Maralitang Kababaihang Nagkakaisa or Organization of United Urban Poor Women), talks about successful online campaigns on women’s rights and making use of social media to provide spaces for women’s causes.
When Philippine President Benigno Aquino came into power in 2010, his electoral platform focused on eradicating graft and corruption in government voiced out in his “righteous road” speech. Now, apart from the recent “pork barrel” controversy, numerous allegations of graft and corruption involving his relatives, cabinet members, and political allies are widespread.
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Women are wooed. Women are raped. Women are impregnated.Women are abducted. Women are raped. Women become mentally ill.Women are wrongly accused. Women are raped. Women get death threats.Women are raped. Women are raped. Women are raped.Different women, same stories: sexual violence in conflict.
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The Philippines has a strong nationalist movement and I grew up in this context.  Movements and movement building are not novel concepts for me.  The Filipino counterpart of movement is kilusan; I learned this word at about the same time I learned how to count and to read.
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We are a network of women human rights defenders, civil society organizations, and advocates expressing our concern over the arrest and detention of 20 members and supporters of the LGBTQ+ community in the Philippines as they led the Pride March in commemoration of the International Pride Month in Manila today. We condemn the threats, arbitrary arrest, and detention of the members of the LGBTQ+ organization Bahaghari-Metro Manila, together with their allies Salinlahi (an alliance of child rights advocates), Gabriela Women’s Party, and GABRIELA.
In the Philippines, the message to human rights defenders is clear: anyone who speaks out could be a target. Within just 10 days this past July, 21 people were killed - community leaders, farmers, church workers, and lawyers - in the province of Negros Oriental. The use of violence is a careful strategy meant to instill a culture of silence and fear. For months, the silence was deafening until a community of local people started to come together. JASS with local groups organized an ecumenical prayer and concert for peace that drew 150 individuals and 19 organizations: young women, mothers, academics, artists, and religious groups. Creating a much-needed space, the gathering built solidarity and common ground – a necessary strategy to confront the violence together. A JASS Southeast Asia tells us more.
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Our JASS Southeast Asia team in the Philippines report that after more than a decade of persistent grassroots organizing and advocacy, legislation that would guarantee protection for human rights defenders (HRD) may finally come to fruition this year.
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In recent months, abortion bans have dominated the headlines. But these battles are not only happening in the U.S. We talked to colleagues and allies about abortion rights in Nicaragua, Mexico, the Philippines, and Zimbabwe – and what that means for people who need to access the full range of reproductive care.
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Authoritarianism. Militarism. Fundamentalism. Extractivism. While contexts differ, the convergence of these four trends have become fertile ground for escalating violence against women and women activists around the world.
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