(16) 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence: Women’s Rights are Human Rights

Contact: Donna Denina

Vice Chair Mass Campaigns

Pinay sa Seattle – Gabriela USA


Women’s Rights are Human Rights

On International Human Rights Day, and the conclusion of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign, GABRIELA-USA recognizes that a life free of violence is a human right. For over 300 years, women of the Philippines have had a long-standing struggle to fight against foreign domination and their continued oppression imposed upon them because of imperialism, feudalism and bureaucratic capitalism, which shape the patriarchal system upheld by the structures of Philippine society. Gabriela Silang, a stark heroine in our people’s history and namesake for the women who continue to arouse, mobilize and organize women into a political force, led an army of 6,000 men in the most successful revolt against Spanish colonization. It is because of this kind of fervent militancy that the women of the Philippines banded together during the Marcos dictatorship to create the largest and most militant alliance of women today, GABRIELA.


GABRIELA USA (GAB USA for short) is the first overseas chapter of GABRIELA, to continue to advocate and defend the rights of Filipinas worldwide, with member organizations reaching across both coasts of the U.S. The women of GAB USA work tirelessly to address issues that impact women including landlessness, US militarization, health rights, foreign domination, anti-people development projects , violence against women and children, prostitution, trafficking, migration, political repression and so much more. In times of war and the ongoing economic crisis, these issues have the greater impact on the infringement of our basic human rights.


Today, Dec. 10th, the 62nd anniversary for the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, we call on all peace loving people to continue to fight for the rights of women. It is our firm belief that in order to resolve the crisis of

women, we must resolve the 3 root problems of the Philippines. Therefore, the struggle of women is integral to the struggle of the Filipino people overall for liberation.

On this day, President Benigno Aquino ordered the Department of Justice (DOJ) to witdraw all trumped up charges against the 43 health workers who were unjustly arrested, detained and tortured for more than 10 months. However, waiting until International Human Rights Day to make such a declaration is a testament to the people’s movement to put national and international pressure on the Philippine government, and not necessarily a sign of the President’s good will. Although we welcome and accept his announcement in commemoration of

International Human Rights Day, we will continue to denounce all human rights abuses that continue under his Presidency.

While human rights violations continue in the Philippines and around the world, the women of GAB USA, including Pinay sa Seattle, FiRE New York, Sigaw Los Angeles, Babae San Francisco, and the newest addition to the alliance,

Samaka (Samahan ng Kababaihan), we will defend and fight for our rights for the advancement of the militant women’s movement of the Philippines. Each region will participate in local Human Rights Day actions and join the international movement to uphold the 30 articles of the UN Declaration of Human Rights.