AMIHAN, National Federation of Peasant Women – Philippines
|Organisation name||AMIHAN, National Federation of Peasant Women – Philippines|
|Address||80-A Mapang-akit Street, Barangay Pinyahan, Quezon City PHILIPPINES|
|Contact person / email||Tess Vistro|
|Related activities on women, peace and security||One initiative is my organization’s advocacy and campaign work against militarization and against military encampments in populated areas and public establishments such as schools, rural health clinics, etc, making the rural people and their communities as shields in the Philippine army’s fights against a rebel group, the National Democratic Front and its armed group the New People’s army (NPA).
We are working to stop this practice as this endangers the lives of the people, disrupts their economic life, and women particularly young women, are vulnerable to various forms of sexual violence with the presence of these state forces in their midst.
Troops do not distinguish between civilians and combatants; the children are interrogated on the whereabouts of their parents they allege to be members of the NPA; the atmosphere of fear and terror created with the presence and continued stay of the troops in full combat gear among the civilian populace virtually using them as human shields, in their fight against rebel groups; their farms which are indispensable to the survival of the civilian population are rendered useless, with restrictions imposed and harassment of farmers as they go to work in their farms. Women are particularly vulnerable, especially young women. Soldiers court and woo young women, sexually harass them, and in a number of cases, have impregnated and left them behind with no support, when soldiers are deployed to other areas. The specific protection provision of assistance needs of women and children affected by armed conflict mandated by international humanitarian law is not respected.
We are capacitating the women in these areas to hold dialogues with the military, with local government officials as intermediaries.
As this is a phenomenon in many areas in the country, my organization initiated a signature campaign hoping to gather at least 50,000 signatures, calling for the military to pull out from rural communities. We are also hoping to bring these signatures to the Philippine Congress as a basis for the enactment of a law that would ensure the protection of women and children, and put to stop to this practice of military. To date we are still negotiating with legislators to sponsor our proposed legislation.