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International Women’s Alliance – Europe statement on the brutal killing of human rights worker Zara Alvarez.

Together with our sisters in the Philippines, the International Women’s Alliance – Europe chapter strongly condemns the extra-judicial killing of former political prisoner, human rights defender, and community health worker Zara Alvarez.

On August 17, at around eight in the evening in the Philippines, an assassin killed Zara while she was walking towards her home in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental.

A steadfast activist and dedicated human rights worker, Zara tirelessly campaigned against human rights abuses and extra-judicial killings in Negros. During this Corona pandemic, as a health worker, aside from doing relief efforts, Zara had been actively calling for a medical solution to the crisis, instead of the state’s militaristic approach.

As a result, the Duterte regime and its state security forces vilified and red-tagged Zara together with many other activists in the country.

In February 2018, Zara was one of the more than 600 people named by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to be declared as a terrorist in a proscription case. This list was eventually trimmed down to two names. A year later, on July 2019, Karapatan, a national alliance of human rights organisations in the Philippines, received a phone call in their office that Zara was the next to fall that year.

Then, just last April, while distributing rice to her fellow Negrenses affected by the corona pandemic, Zara received threats and reports that a police officer had her investigated for doing so.

Four months later, and over a month after the Anti-Terror Law took effect, Zara was brutally killed on the day when a staunch activist and peace-advocate Ka Randy Echanis, who was tortured and murdered, was laid to rest.

The Duterte regime and its butchers must be having its heyday with the climate of impunity they have placed the whole country in. Yet, there is a time of reckoning.

We join our sisters and the Filipino people in mourning the death and loss of a selfless servant of the people, and a loving mother to her 11 year old daughter. We join their call for justice for Zara and all victims of extra-judicial killings, and their call to end impunity and state fascism.





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