FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 10, 2014
Reference: Valerie Francisco, Chairperson, GABRIELA USA, email@example.com
GABRIELA USA Speak Out Against State Violence on International Human Rights Day
State Violence and Impunity
During International Human Rights Day, GABRIELA USA demands justice for all of those who have had their human rights violated, especially those who lost their lives. Our communities are reeling from the ongoing and intensifying state-sanctioned murders of people of color in the US. The list of names of slaughtered black and brown men, women, trans-women, and children is too long and ever-growing.
We grieve the police killings of unarmed Americans whose crime was the color of their skin. In the wake of the subsequent grand jury decisions not to indict police officers Darren Wilson and Daniel Wilson, in the cases of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York, respectively, GABRIELA USA members have joined mass protests with statements of indignation to express our horror and anger at the loss of life of these men and the disregard for their lives by the state.
And still, there are countless women and trans people of color who have also been killed with impunity by police that remain nameless with their lives invisible and the pain in their communities unheard. Police have contributed to the disproportionately high murder rate of trans-women and cis-women*. The cases of Tyisha Miller, killed in her car after she became unconscious after having a seizure in 1998 and in 2012, Rekia Boyd was shot by police while holding a cell phone in her car at a park have been silenced. The murders of young mothers and their children such as Tarika Wilson and her infant son killed in 2008 during a police raid at home and Aiyana Jones, seven years old, was shot by a Detroit police raid in 2010 while sleeping in her bed, cannot continue to be silenced.
The Philippines Under U.S. Imperialism
The American forces’ murderous reputation and culture of impunity extends internationally. In the Philippines, U.S. Marine PFC Joseph Scott Pemberton violently killed Jennifer Laude, a 26-year-old transgender Filipina. Instead of facing criminal charges under Philippine law, Pemberton is still in U.S. custody and benefits from its protection. Laude’s murder follows the tired pattern of Filipina victims of violence at the hands of U.S. troops illegally stationed in the Philippines. Under the Philippines-U.S. Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), the Philippines has ultimately given up its rights to its colonial American master and relegated Filipinos, and especially Filipina women, to second-class citizens.
The inaction and failure of the Philippine government to protect its own citizens exposes its true agenda: to serve the economic and military interests of the U.S.
A case in point of this is the frequent and extreme typhoons that have erased whole communities. Due to Philippine government corruption and pandering to multinational corporations, the country suffers from weak infrastructure, landslides due to large-scale mining and logging, poor warning systems, and hoarding of relief funds and goods by the Philippine government. U.S. military “relief” is in fact a ploy to justify sending in more troops, as to this day, many families have not received any relief and instead have relied on people’s volunteer organizations on the ground and foreign humanitarian groups, such as the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns. Aquino’s political impotence reveals the nature of his presidency as a puppet for U.S. interests.
The U.S.’ imperialist efforts toward political and economic domination is a key contributor to global human rights violations in all its forms. The global migration phenomenon is a result of unjust economic policies designed and implemented to benefit the U.S. and a handful of the most powerful governments and corporations at the expense of migrant workers. Filipinos, especially women, fall victim to labor and sex trafficking. GABRIELA USA is calling for justice for over 300 teachers who were recently trafficked by Isidro Rodriguez in Washington, D.C. Predatory agents like Rodriguez take advantage of the vulnerability of migrant workers due to weak legal protections in both their home and host countries.
The People’s Demands
The Philippine government, under President Benigno Aquino, is complicit in serving the agenda of the U.S. imperialists to break into the markets of the Asia Pacific at the costs of the basic rights and welfare of its own people. GABRIELA USA exposes the U.S. imperialist agenda motivated by profit and power. We oppose state violence against all people in the U.S. and internationally including cis-women, trans-women, immigrants and migrants, and we recognize the common threads in these narratives.
GABRIELA USA joins the voices of our kababayans in calling for President Aquino to step down or be removed by the people’s will. Aquino must answer for countless criminal acts during his regime, including but not limited to facilitation of human trafficking, negligence in response to natural disasters, and abetting the U.S. in its “War on Terror.” Aquino is murdering and terrorizing Filipinos using military funding from the same government that murders and terrorizes its own black and brown communities with highly militarized police forces. It’s all part of a bigger picture and it needs to stop now.
GABRIELA USA calls on you to join us in support of our campaigns against economic, state, military, and gender violence here in the U.S., in the Philippines, and internationally. We demand justice for victims of police violence, human trafficking, man-made environmental disasters, and economic inequality. We demand justice for all victims of human rights violations!
Ultimately, we are fighting for the dignity and respect for all life and the genuine liberation and freedom of all oppressed people.
End Police Brutality! Black Lives Matter!
End Violence Against Women! End Transmisogyny Now! Justice for Jennifer Laude!
U.S. Out of the Philippines! Junk the Visiting Forces Agreement! Junk the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement!
Justice for Victims of Typhoons! End Large-Scale Mining and Logging Now!
Justice for Trafficked Teachers and All Victims of Human Trafficking!
Oust Aquino Now!
#InternationalHumanRightsDay #IHRD #InternationalSolidarity #BlackLivesMatter #ICantBreathe #JunkVFA #JunkEDCA #Justice4JenniferLaude #EndTransmisogynyNow #TeachThemALesson #NAFCONUSA #USTroopsOut #OustAquino #SulongGABRIELA #GABRIELAUSA
Show your support in calling for the transfer of Pemberton to Philippine custody, an end to VFA and EDCA, and an end to anti-LGBTQ violence by signing GABRIELA USA’s Jennifer Laude petition at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/justice-for-filipina-trans-woman-jennifer-laude.
* Cisgender (often abbreviated to simply cis) describe related types of gender identity where individuals’ experiences of their own gender match the sex they were assigned at birth.