Women rights defenders cite gov’t, TNC accountability on attacks vs women, communities

Women human rights defenders from across the globe scored governments and trans-national corporations for the plunder and their lands and resources that adversely affected women and their communities. 
 
 
 
To cap the International People’s Conference on Mining, 37 women human rights defenders from Argentina, Spain, Canada, Cambodia, Ecuador, Indonesia, Australia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, the United Kingdom, and the Philippines issued a collective statement, which pointed to the “governments and trans-national corporations exacerbate the dire impacts of extractive industries on women and their communities through the plunder of their lands and resources, and multi-lateral and bilateral trade and investment agreements that infringe on women’s rights, the right to self-determination, and sovereignty of peoples.”

The signatories of the declaration participated in the Workshop on the Gendered Impacts of Mining on Women Human Rights Defenders at the international conference in Manila, Philippines from July 30 to August 1, 2015. The workshop was organized by Karapatan, Association of Women's Rights in Development (AWID), Cordillera Women's Education, Action and Research Center (CWEARC) and KAIROS Canada.

“There are numerous cases of extrajudicial killings, and use of criminal and civil cases being brought against defenders by governments, companies and security forces based on vague definitions of crimes in the context of the leadership roles they take on in their communities resisting ‘development projects’. Criminalization, which is reinforced by gender-based discrimination and violence, is an attack against women defenders,” they further stated, through the declaration.

Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general and one of the workshop organizers said indigenous people’s leader Aida Seisa, is among the Filipina rights defenders who are facing these forms of attacks. 

Seisa, spokesperson of Paquibato District Peasant Alliance (PADIPA) and vice-chairperson of Sabokahan Indigenous Women Organization in Paquibato, Davao, face false charges of murder and frustrated murder. On June 14, 2015, Seisa’s house was strafed by soldiers of the 69th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army (IBPA). She and her family survived the said attack, but three other peasants were killed. 

Palabay said the trumped up charges against Seisa should be dropped, and the perpetrators of the massacre and the frustrated killing of Seisa’s family should be held accountable.  

In the workshop, the women rights defenders vowed to continue to organize and mobilize their communities to resist the onslaught of repression.

Full text of the declaration can be viewed through this link: https://www.karapatan.org/Workshop+Group+on+the+Gendered+Impacts+of+Mining+DECLARATION
 

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