Women activists hand over ATT petition in the Philippines

June 21 2012, 7:40 AM  by Rosie Cowling

Around 80 people, mostly women dressed in black and brandishing bananas, gathered in front of the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila on Tuesday to call on the Philippine government to support a strong, gender-responsive Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). Women are disproportionately affected by armed violence, both inside and outside conflict zones.

Women from the Women Engaged in Action on 1325  (WE Act 1325), the Philippine Action Network to Control Arms (PhilANCA), Amnesty International, as well as other student groups and peace organisations, carried bananas to parody the fact that the fruit is regulated when weapons are not.

Jasmin Galace from WE Act 1325 and Dr. Aurora Parong, chair of PhilANCA, handed over lists of signatures from parliamentarians, local governments supporters, interfaith leaders and women’s groups declaring support for a robust Arms Trade Treaty. They also handed over a letter for President Benigno Aquino III, in the hope that he will uphold the treaty since he signed a declaration in 2006 supporting it.

The Executive Director of the United Nations and International Organizations Office (UNIO) Dr Kira Azucena, who met with the group, said that the government is leaning towards supporting an ATT in July and committed to raising the specific lobby points articulated by the group to the President and to government agencies deciding on the Philippine government’s position on the ATT.