Justice for victim of Okinawa rape and for all women victims of violence!

Press Statement of National Alliance of Philippine Women in Canada

As progressive Filipino women in Canada, we are outraged by reports that another Filipino woman has been violated and raped by US military personnel in Okinawa, Japan on February 18, 2008.  We stand in solidarity with GABRIELA, the largest national alliance of women’s organizations in the Philippines and all peace-loving women and people in calling for genuine justice for the woman and all victims of violence.

This crime and violation of another woman’s rights is a concrete example of how the US military is a tool of imperialist aggression, and how the military presence in Southeast Asia and all over the world is a threat to women’s safety and human rights. US troops who are stationed in different countries are committing violent crimes against women and children all over the world.
This recent rape of a Filipina in Japan painfully reminds us of the rape of the young Filipino woman, Nicole, who was gang-raped outside Subic military base by U.S. military servicemen that were stationed there in 2005.  Due to outrage, mobilizations and mass protests by peoples organizations one soldier was brought to trial on rape charges.  However, some of the soldiers that were charged with rape had their cases dropped.  Because of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), an agreement with the U.S. and Philippine governments, the U.S. military is treated as above the law and are absolved of responsibility of crimes while on duty.
Although Corporal Daniel Smith was charged and convicted under Philippine law, the Arroyo government betrayed its citizens and surrendered him back to US custody.  This shows the government’s loyalty to the United States, and that President Arroyo is more interested in protecting the influx of remittances from Overseas Filipino Workers, but not the Filipino people from violence.  With the resumption of the Balikatan (joint exercises US-Philippines military exercises) in Mindanao and in different parts of the Philippines, we fear that more rape and abuses will take place. 
U.S. military presence in foreign countries, including the Philippines, tramples the rights of sovereign nations.
The US military’s presence in Southeast Asia, especially the return to the Philippines through the VFA continues to contribute to the increased number of human rights violations, especially violence against women.  It is known that around the areas that military bases are, the red light districts are where women and children are trafficked for prostitution.  “Comfort women” were used to service Japanese soldiers in World War II and prostituted women for U.S. troops during the Vietnam war.  The continued rape and use of prostituted Filipino women today by U.S. troops from Luzon to Mindanao point not only to direct violence on women’s bodies, but is the result of military aggression on Philippine sovereignty.  Furthermore, the trafficking of Filipino women and the sex trade are equally violent economic pillage and plunder experienced by Filipinos in the presence of thousands of U.S. military soldiers in the Philippines.
We therefore call on all progressive women and overseas Filipinos to condemn this act of violence against women and to call for an end to the US military presence, occupation, and wars of aggression around the world. We also continue to support GABRIELA’s Purple Rose Campaign which calls for an end to the sex trafficking of Filipino women and children.

Justice for all women victims of violence!
U.S. Troops out of the Philippines now!
Down with U.S. imperialism and military aggression!

Philippine Women Centre of British Columbia
Member of the National Alliance of Philippine Women in Canada (NAPWC)
c/o Kalayaan Centre, 451 Powell Street, Vancouver, B.C., V6A 1G7
Phone: 604.215.1103 | Fax: 604.215.1905 | Web: http://www.kalayaancentre.net/pwcofbc

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