CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 17 November 2018

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Women are being murdered for their land

MANILA (UCAN): A growing number of Filipino women, especially in rural areas, have been abused and even killed for the crime of defending their land against powerful interests that seek to steal it.

The human rights group, Karapatan, says that at least 153 women have been assassinated for defending their land since 2001.

Teresita Navacilla was shot dead in January this year for openly opposing an open-pit mine construction in the southern Philippine province of Compostela Valley. It is strongly suspected that military personnel were the men behind the guns.

“The only parties to benefit from Navacilla’s demise are the mining corporations,” Karapatan secretary-general, Hanimay Suazo, explained.

Sister Maria Fatima Somogod, from the Rural Missionaries of The Philippines, described attacks on tribal communities in the region as being directed against women fighting for their families and the environment.

“We cannot blame women if they are rebelling against an unjust system,” Sister Somogod said. “They are just taking care of their loved ones and things that are important to them.”

Judith Pamela Pasimio, a spokesperson for the tribal women’s rights group, Purple Action, claims that the murders of indigenous women leaders expose the kind of development that governments around the world are pursuing.

She explained that tribal women are fighting for the environment and giving their lives for this cause. Pasimio also cited the case of a leader of the B’laan comunity, Juvy Capion, from Davao del Sur, who was killed with her two children in 2012 for opposing a mining company operating on tribal ancestral land.

 

Data gathered by Tanggol Bayi, an indigenous women’s rights movement show that at least 18 women have been killed since 2010. Karapatan says that of the 78 political prisoners arrested since 2010, women account for 35 of them.

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