Free Sr. Pat now! Hands off food sovereignty advocates and people’s rights defenders!

The People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS) strongly condemns the Philippine government for its detention and intended deportation of Australian missionary and food sovereignty advocate Sr. Patricia “Pat” Fox, NDS.

The Coalition also denounces the irregularities to the arrest and detention of Sr. Pat, whose right to due process was infringed according to her legal counsel.

Sr. Pat, 71, is the regional coordinator for Notre Dame de Sion (Sisters of Our Lady of Sion) in the Philippines, an international Roman Catholic congregation of nuns. She has been living in the country for 27 years already, serving the marginalized Filipinos especially in rural communities.

As a volunteer of Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA; Union of Agricultural Workers), she joined the recently concluded “Stop Killing Farmers! International Fact-Finding and Solidarity Mission” (IFFSM) in Mindanao. The mission exposed that the military is using Martial Law to forcefully surrender peasants and indigenous peoples as members of the belligerent New People’s Army, causing the upturn of documented human rights violations especially the landgrabs and extrajudicial killings in the area. PCFS was among the co-organizers of the mission, which launched the global campaign against the killing of farmers and defenders of people’s rights.

Sr. Pat is being deported for “illegal political activities,” tagged as an “undesirable alien,” a week after her participation in the IFFSM.

PCFS slams the government efforts to shun criticisms from the international community on the many pressing issues in the Philippines, such as the widespread landlessness and the attacks against rural communities. President Rodrigo Duterte is hell-bent in stifling whatever censure there is for his administration to secure his “dictatorship,” extending his crackdown against critiques to foreign internationals.

In fact, the country’s Bureau of Immigration has been active recently in persecuting foreign internationals who are taking part in independent investigations on the human rights situation in the Philippines.

The Coalition reiterates its call to the Duterte administration: uphold democracy in the Philippines, address the legitimate concerns of the Filipino people especially genuine land reform and national industrialization, and stop the intimidation against local and foreign activists advancing food sovereignty and people’s rights. We call our members, networks, and the whole international community to urge the government of the Philippines to immediately release Sr. Pat. We also invite you to voice out our solidarity to the people of Mindanao who are braving Martial Law.

Our support to today’s rally in Manila, Philippines pushing for Sr. Pat’s release, led by UMA and the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP; Peasant Movement of the Philippines).


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