On the Attacks on Women Human Rights Defenders in Cordillera

The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) denounce the political assault against women activists of Cordillera in the Philippines.

Sarah Abellon-Alikes, Sherry Mae Soledad, Joanne Villanueva, Rachel Mariano, and Asia Isabella Gepte were alleged to be members of the New People’s Army along with 18 other individuals. They were filed with fabricated charges of frustrated murder and multiple counts of
attempted murder in relation with encounters of the revolutionary armed organization with the 7th Infantry Division units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Ilocos Sur last August.

Around the same time, Shirley Ann Angiwot as well as church workers supportive of the peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines were tagged as “enemies of the State,” which circulated in social media. Alikes, Soledad, Villanueva, Mariano, Gepte, and Alingot are leaders of the Cordillera people’s movement, whose organizations are actively involved in campaigns for the rights and welfare of the indigenous Cordillerans. Recently, they were in staunch support of a local anti-mining alliance in Kasibu town that has been continually harassed by the 7th ID for their resistance.

IPMSDL expresses its grave concern on the heightening repression against human rights defenders in the Philippines, especially leaders of Indigenous people’s groups. With militarization intensified, state forces have conveniently red-tagged activist-leaders and human rights
defenders to quell dissent of affected communities and indigenous peoples’ groups against government-backed development aggression projects, guised as counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency efforts. This is how Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte exercised his tyrannical rule: empowering fascist forces instead of uplifting the marginalized.

The Movement stands with the women activists of Cordillera and the communities they defend.

 

END STATE FASCISM!

HANDS-OFF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS!

STOP THE PERSECUTION OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES!