Statement on the killing of yet another WHRD in the Philippines
We, women human rights defenders (WHRDs) and organisations working for the promotion and advancement of women’s rights and protection of WHRDs, strongly condemn the killing of another courageous rights activist in Maguindanao. On the afternoon of September 23, 2018, Mariam Uy Acob, 43, a paralegal of Kawagib Moro Human Rights in Maguindanao and a leader of Tindeg Bangsamoro, was gunned down by suspected military agents due to her work as a WHRD.
Mariam was a staunch critic of militarisation in Moro communities. She consistently denounced aerial bombardment and encampment in her communities. She has had to seek sanctuary after exposing and calling out the injustices done against Muslim communities in the Philippines. She was a beneficiary of the Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights, and was given a grant for relocation as she tried to secure herself amidst the threats to her life.
The killing of Mariam and her advocacy is interlinked, the same way that many WHRDs are subjected to harassment, trumped-up cases, illegal arrests and fatal extrajudicial killings because of their work in defense of human rights for all. The assailants who killed her waited for her; caught up with the vehicle she was using and shot her seven times. This is no accident.
With the addition of Mariam Acob, Tanggol Bayi and Karapatan has documented 27 cases of WHRDs killed in the Philippines under Duterte’s term. To date, the Philippines has yet to pass a domestic law which comprehensively provides protection and support for those who act in defense of human rights. The Human Rights Defenders bill remains pending in Congress, and there is still an urgent task for the Philippine government to create an enabling and safe environment for women and other human rights defenders to continue their work.
We demand an immediate end to the killings! We demand a thorough, prompt, impartial and transparent investigation on the killing of Mariam Acob and other human rights defenders. We reiterate our call for the perpetrators to be held fully accountable for these heinous crimes. We likewise call for an immediate end to the repressive policies that allow these killings to continue with brazen impunity.
Justice for Mariam Acob!
1. Aksi! for Gender, Social and Ecological Justice, Indonesia
3. Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development
4. Asia Pacific Network of Environment Defenders (APNED)
5. Beautiful Hearts Mongolia
6. Center for Environmental Concerns-Philippines
7. Forum NGO Timor-Leste ( Fongtil )
9. Hawaii Center for Human Rights Research and Action, Hawaii
10.Human Rights Coalition, Timor-Leste
12.Institut Perempuan, Indonesia
13.International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL)
14.International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific
15.JASS (Just Associates)
17.Kawagib Moro Human Rights
18.Khmer Kampuchea Krom for Human Rights and Development Association (KKKHDRA), Cambodia
20.Moro-Christian People's Alliance (MCPA)
21.MS Swaminathan Research Foundation, India
22.National Indigenous Women Forum (NIWF) - Nepal
23.Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek
24.Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER), Malaysia
25.Progressive Voice, Myanmar
26.Roots for Equity, Pakistan
27.Rural women’s association Alga, Kyrgyzstan
28.Saad Aangan Goa, India
29.Shan Women’s Action Network (SWAN). Myanmar
31.Sustainability and Participation through Education and Lifelong Learning (SPELL), Philippines
32.Tanggol Bayi – Karapatan
34.The Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID)
35.Urgent Action Fund, Asia and Pacific (UAF A&P)
36.Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights (UAF WHR)
37.Urgent Action Fund - Latin America and the Caribbean (UAF-LAC) | Fondo de Acción Urgente - América Latina y el Caribe (FAU-AL)
38.Urgent Action Fund – Africa (UAF – Africa
40.Women's League of Burma (WLB), Burma/ Myanmar
1. Bai Ali Indayla, 2nd nominee Gabriela Women’s Partylist
3. Nang Lao Liang Won ( Tay Tay), Myanmar