Written by Hannah Wolf

I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.”
Rosa Parks

Living in a context where the powerful are free to use and abuse the law according to their want; women human rights defenders need to make up their minds to fight for justice. Worse, they need to brace for the contrary, for criminalization, persecution, incarceration, disappearance, torture and murder. Challenged by the mere quest for justice the powerful have often proved to turn into desperate captives of their own beloved status quo, pursuing the destruction of the “Other” to keep the “Self” in existence…

Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño are among those who became prominent as their cruel disappearance unfolded. Their mothers continue the fight and remain vocal, unfailing in their insisting call for justice! Sherlyn had been pregnant at the time of her disappearance but the reported torture must have taken the life she carried.

One needs to make up one’s mind…knowing what must be done does away with fear… Generals and majors of the army who attempted to destroy the “Other”, the labeled communists and reputed terrorist, succeeded in underpinning their existence, got even promoted but failed to destroy. One day they will fall. One day…

And for that day to come countless woman human rights defenders take the risks and dare to fight by peaceful means, dare to look, dare to speak out. Yet too many become victims themselves. Zara Alvarez is one of them. Incarcerated for 21 months on the basis of false and fabricated charges, forcefully separated from her daughter and family, threatened and persecuted by the military even within the vicinity of the jail she did not allow the military to intimidate her, she continues to speak out.

Many more mothers, daughters fight at the forefront and take risk each day so that all may simply live and assert their rights without the fear of reprisal. These women human rights defenders deserve our tribute, our hand in the fight for lasting freedom, justice and peace!

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