Solidarity Statement with the People of the Philippines

Opinion & Analysis Philippines Jun 23, 2017 at 3:26 pm
Women human rights defenders from Asia Pacific in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Women human rights defenders from Asia Pacific in Chiang Mai, Thailand

We, women human rights defenders from various countries of Asia and the Pacific, gather to show our solidarity with the people most affected by the rise of growing state authoritarianism and militarism, religious fundamentalisms and the underlying exploitative economic systems designed to enrich a tiny minority at the expense of our communities.

Given the current developments in the Philippines, we extend our solidarity to the victims of the Marawi siege who have been battered by acts of terror coming from the ISIS-inspired Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups, as well as from the Philippine government. We strongly condemn this blatant display of disregard for human life and people’s rights. We add our voices to the growing call to lift martial law in Mindanao and stop aerial strikes in Marawi. We express our solidarity to the women and peoples of the Philippines, amid state and non-state gender-based violence, sexism, discrimination and the prevalence of patriarchal and feudal constructs that are direct attacks on women’s human rights.

People of Thailand have also been subjected to brutal wars on drugs and have experienced martial law enabling State-sanctioned harassment and threats. These situations restrict civil society engagement critical to a peaceful society and undermine civilian processes that allow platforms for redress and the facilitation of peace.

We remind our governments that terrorism and unrest often grows in environments of exploitation and inequalities. Extremisms are both fueled by and fuel patriarchy. Thus, we advocate for comprehensive solutions which thoroughly address the social, economic and political structures that ignite conflict.

Governments too often choose war over peace and violently fight symptoms rather than address causes. Violence breeds violence but solidarity breeds solidarity. We know that equality of wealth, resources and power between countries, between peoples, between men and women is the best path to peace, harmony and Development Justice.

We reiterate our call for the government of the Philippines to immediately lift martial law in Mindanao and cease aerial strikes in Marawi.

Despite our different backgrounds, we will continue to pursue paths towards peace based on justice. We will remain vigilant as we strive towards a safe environment where human rights are respected and given priority over ego and the desire to appear tough and masculine. We stand together as sisters in solidarity against political, economic and social violence against women and all peoples. For as long as repression and exploitation – in all its forms – exist, we will continue our struggle and build just alternatives.

Signed by


• Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD)
• Tanggol Bayi
• The Southern Peasant Federation of Thailand (SPFT)
• RakBanHaeng Group
• KhonRakBankerd
• Rural Women’s Development and Unity Centre
• Development Alternative with Women for a New Era (DAWN)
• CHHORI Better Together: Empowering Women and Girls
• LOOM Nepal
• LILAK (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights)
• Women’s Rehabilitation Centre, Nepal
• National Alliance of Women Human Rights Defenders in Nepal (NAWHRD)
• The Story Kitchen, Nepal
• Mannar Women’s Development  Federation
• Indigenous Women Forum of Northeast India
• International Women’s Rights Action Watch – Asia Pacific (IWRAW-AP)
• PPWSWA- Pakistan Rural Workers Social Welfare Organization
• Asisténsia Legál ba Feto no Labarik (ALFeLa)
• Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights


• Elizabeth Cox
• Jing Xiong, Feminist Voices, China
• Ruby Matane, Grace Counceling Services, Papua New Guinea
• Bondita Acharya, Women in Government (WnG)
• Lin Chew, Institute for Women’s Empowerment
• Phoebe So
• Gerifel Cerillo, Tanggol Bayi
• Marion Bernadette Cabrera
• Mary Jane Real
• Kamala Chandrakirana
• Andy Yentriyana
• Virisila Buadromo
• Estelle Cohenny
• Sayeed Ahmad
• Rita Manchanda South Asia Forum for Human Rights
• Kishwar Sultana, Insan Foundation Trust – Pakistan
• Visaka Dharmadasa, Association of War Affected Women
• Pinky Singh Rana, Rural Women’s Development and Unity Centre
• Yuli Rustinawat, Arus Pelangi
• Jaya Luintel, NAWHRD
• Hana Shams Ahmed
• Shreen Abdul Saroor
• Sharon Bhagwa Rolls
• Marevic Parcon
• Khesheli Chishi