Statement on International Human Rights Day 2015
This is the demand of the International Women’s Alliance (IWA) on International Human Rights Day 2015 to highlight the situation of women who dared to stand up for their political beliefs, who risked the full force of state repression and who are now paying a high price for their courage and defiance for women’s liberation, for the freedom of their people and their country.
Around the globe, women, especially indigenous women, are among those most under attack like the women of the Unis’tot’en Nation in the province of British Colombia, Canada, who barricade the roads to block the establishment of oil pipelines over their land, or the Defensoras of the Pachamama Front in Ecuador who exposes and opposes the sell out of their resources and communities, or the Lumad from the island of Mindanao in the Philippines who trudged over 700 kilometers to the capital Manila to shout their outrage at the military occupation of their schools and communities and the killing of their leaders.
Despite the repression and criminalization, women continue to engage in political actions for system change, they stand up for their families and communities, they oppose the pillage of their resources and the destruction of their environment, and they rise up against occupation and war and continue to fight imperialism. They resist the hands that rape and steal from their countries, communities and in return face prison and even death. But with every arrest, with every imprisonment, more women dare to fight and resist. Women refuse to be silenced.
On this occasion IWA join the voices of women around the world calling for the release of women political prisoners. These women from the different sectors and the different struggles they represent are stripped of their freedom for months and years on end on the basis of trumped up criminal charges or political accusations, curtailing their democratic rights, their freedom of speech and their freedom of movement, as regimes use every repressive measure of the state to try to crush the struggle for national democracy and against imperialism.
This year, women’s voices cry out for the release of Khalida Jarrar, a Palestinian woman parliamentarian who was sentenced by an Israeli occupation military court to 15 months imprisonment on December 6, 2015. Khalida Jarrar was arrested without charge in April 2015.
An international outcry pushed her case to Israeli military courts, where she faced charges for speaking, writing, talking to the media and attending events. The drawn-out prosecution had been postponed repeatedly as the tribunal failed to produce witnesses to testify against her. Jarrar was held under administrative detention, which is nothing but the imprisonment of Palestinians without charge or trial and on the basis of secret evidence. Political prisoners are jailed for up to six-month periods, indefinitely renewable by Israeli military courts. Her ¨trial¨ finally ended with a conviction as do 99.74% of all cases of Palestinians before these military courts. Jarrar is only one among the escalating number of Palestinian women from 14 to 61 years of age being held in Israeli prisons with the more than 7000 Palestinian political prisoners.
We also call on the release of Kurdish activist Zeynep Jalaliyan who was illegally arrested in 2008 in Kermanshah, Iran. Jalaliyan was sentenced to death during minutes of trial without a lawyer. The death sentence was later modified to life imprisonment. She was arrested due to her democratic commitment and in spite of the inhumane conditions she is in, she continues the fight for liberation. Due to torture, Jalaliyan is in a critical medical state. Although she has nearly lost her eyesight, medical care is still refused. The Iranian government’s human rights violation keeps on rising, especially against women. The increasing rape and execution of women clearly shows the misogyny of the Iranian regime. We also cry out for the hundreds of Kurdish women in prison in Turkey and demand for their release. The women of Rojava and Kobane were part of the Kurdish forces that faced the bombs of the imperialist states and the regional enforcers targeting them instead of ISIS and provided the real opposition to the ISIS onslaught
On the other side of the globe, in the Philippines, women leaders Wilma Tiamson and Concha Araneta, consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines for the peace negotiations, were arrested in 23 March 2014 and 1 August 2015, respectively. They are covered by the Joint Agreement for Security and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) signed to protect peace negotiators and consultants but was still detained. Former GABRIELA officer Sharon Cabusao was also illegally arrested in 01 June 2015 is still detained on trumped up charges. IWA also demands for the release of 47 other women political prisoners who form part of the 561 political prisoners as documented by Philippine rights group, Karapatan.
The women of International Women’s Alliance raise their voices and demand for the immediate release of Khalida Jarrar , Zeynep Jalaliyan Wilma Tiamson, Concha Araneta and Sharon Cabusao and all women political prisoners. Free Our Sisters!
Free all women political prisoners now!
Release all political prisoners! Resist tyranny and impunity.