24 May 2006
AS ARROYO EARNS INTERNATIONAL SHAME, CONDEMNATION ABDUCTED GABRIELA LEADERS IN LEYTE SURFACE
"The Arroyo regime is earning international condemnation for its human rights record, rendering it a source of national shame, unworthy of its position in the United Nations Human Rights Council and unworthy of staying in power."
Thus said Gabriela Women's Party Representative Liza Largoza Maza, following the Amnesty International report which raised alarm on the human rights situation in the country, "which gets worse everyday."
According to Maza, "Just today, we have received initial reports that former Gabriela Ormoc Chair Teresita Posion and Clarita Centino, Gabriela regional staff were abducted by the 19th Infantry Batallion in Kanagga, Leyte last May 20 and April 28 respectively. They surfaced only yesterday. Posion was transferred to PNP custody and has been charged with rebellion while Centino has been released." Since the beginning of the Arroyo regime, 70 women activists and rights defenders have been slain.
Maza also said that the relentless killings and political persecution have alarmed the international community so much that it has prompted more of them to come and see for themselves the worsening human rights situation in the country.
According to Maza, aside from Amnesty International, five of the most prominent women legal luminaries in the United States are set to arrive in the country this weekend as part of the international response to the human rights action alert raised by Gabriela Women's Party and Gabriela Network USA.
Maza said the all-women lawyers' delegation from the US particularly expressed concern over the rate with which activists, specifically women have been attacked.
The delegation is composed of Jill Soffiyah Elijah (Deputy Director of Criminal Justice Institute, Harvard Law School), Tina Monshipour Foster (Center for Constitutional Research, legal counsel for several detainees held in US military facilities worldwide), Rachel Lederman (National Lawyers Guild, she won a million-dollar lawsuit against the city of San Francisco for illegally detaining protesters), Vanessa Lucas (National Lawyers Guild, Children and Family Justice Center) and Merrilyn Onisko (National Lawyers Guild Co-Chair for the Middle East Sub-committee). #