Gemma Mirkinson holds a bullhorn while Ona Mirkinson reads a statement from the three women advocates for human and women's rights apparently placed on a "hold list" by the Filipino government of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. The two are daughters of one of the women not allowed to leave the Philippines.
UPDATE: 8:58 am Tuesday, August 14: a friend of the women writes: "all three of them are on a plane to the US right now - hurray!" Good work by all who contacted the Philippine government.
Monday evening a small but spirited group rallied outside the Philippine Center on Sutter Street in downtown San Francisco. According to the Filipino publication Bulatlat,
The U.S.C. professor was given the run around when she tried to get cleared to return to the States. Activist Judith Mirkinson and American Book Award winning novelist Ninotchka Rosca are also believed to be on the "hold list" and so far are unable to leave the Philippines.
These events occur against a background of growing repression carried out by the Filipino government, the legitimacy of whose election is contested by many popular movements. Many believe that the Macapagal-Arroyo administration is trying to return to the martial law system under which dictator Ferdinand Marcos governed the country from 1965 to 1986 -- without using the dread words "martial law.
- In June, Human Rights Watch issued at report on the regime, Scared Silent: Impunity for Extrajudicial Killings in the Philippines. It does not mince words:
- The Philippines is also a dangerous place for religious leaders who stand up for the poor and oppressed.
- In July, the government brought a new "Human Security Act" into effect. ... The UN special rapporteur on human rights and counterterrorism has called for the law to be repealed or for its implementation to be delayed.
- The Committee for the Protection of Journalists names the Philippines as a major violator of reporter's rights.