Philippines

MAR 2014
Women at a recent summit in Mindanao, Southern Philippines, called on the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) to include their views in the drafting of the Basic Law for the new Bangsamoro region. This self-governing entity has emerged following a peace agreement after decades of armed conflict.

Nurina was 14 when she married Sid, who was 23. “We were close friends. He treated me like a younger sister,” Nurina said. “People started to gossip and my family insisted that we be married to avoid tarnishing my reputation.” Seven years later, Nurina is a third-year high-school student and a mother of three. Early and arranged marriages are common practice in Muslim culture in the Philippines where about 5 percent of the country’s 97 million inhabitants are Muslim.

Southeast Asia Muslim human rights advocates express concerns on the growth of politicized Islam in the ASEAN region and makes recommendations to ASEAN leaders at the 15th ASEAN Summit. A regional meeting of Southeast Asian human rights advocates was held in Jakarta on 16-17 October 2009 to examine how certain interpretations of Sharia laws are affecting the rights of the women in Muslim contexts in the region and undermining secularism and democratic institutions in such countries as Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines.

A Joint Statement by the Asian Legal Resource Centre and Lawyers Rights Watch Canada, November 26, 2009: Lawyers Rights Watch Canada (LRWC) and the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) condemn the execution of two human rights lawyers, Concepcion Brizuela and Cynthia Oquendo, along with 55 others in the November 23, 2009 massacre in Maguindanao province of the Philippines. Below, in a statement, The Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development, mourn the loss of the two brave human rights defenders, and call on us to take action and send a letter to President Gloria Arroyo of the Philippines demanding justice.

ON THE MAGUINDANAO MASSACRE AND THE DEATH OF ATTY. CONNIE BRIZUELA: We grieve over the death of Atty. Concepcion ‘Connie’ Brizuela, a member of our board of convenors, who was among the many victims of pre-election violence in Maguindanao province November 23. Our heartfelt sympathies go to Connie’s husband and children who have supported her advocacies through the years as former legal counsel of the Diocese of Kidapawan, as peoples’ lawyer, and as a woman human rights defender.

Amnesty International press release, 23 November 2009: Amnesty International condemns the killings of at least 21 civilians, including journalists and members of a politician’s family, in the southern Philippines province of Maguindanao, the first reported killings linked to national elections to be held in May 2010. A group of about 45 people were ambushed and abducted by about 100 armed men, according to reports. The military recovered the bodies of 13 women and eight men—some of them mutilated.

The following, and attached, are recommendations from the Regional Meeting held in Jakarta, 16-17 October 2009. Islam in Southeast Asia has long been recognized as humane, tolerant, diverse, plural, metropolitan, progressive, and empowering of women. It is thus a matter of urgent concern that the rapid growth of Islamic extremism is now changing the landscape in Southeast Asia, with serious consequences for all living in the region, as well as for the rest of the world. Leaders of ASEAN member states are urged to be cognizant of this regressive trend, which will have serious impacts not only on women’s rights, human rights, but also on the stability and development of the region as a whole. The conservative and monolithic values that underlie this trend are intolerant of the diversity that characterizes Southeast Asia. Such extremist attitudes result in acts that marginalize women and also use terrorist tactics to eliminate diversity.

The International Contact Group (ICG) will consist of representatives from the Organisation of Islamic Conference and the European Union, who will "facilitate" formal negotiations between the two sides on the ground, Manila's chief peace negotiator, said.
On 11 March 2008, the Centennial Lecture Series at the University of the Philippines included a session on "Women Contesting Fundamentalisms and Other Forms of Intolerance", convened by Dr. Carolyn I. Sobritchea.
Sylvia Estrada-Claudio discusses the policy of banning "artificial contraceptives" in Manila's public health facilities, in terms of human rights, the rule of law, and the politicization of religion.
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