“We condemn the illegal arrest and detention in Manila, Philippines of Australian Sr. Patricia “Pat” Fox, NDS, a missionary of the international Roman Catholic congregation of women Sisters of Our Lady of Sion, from the Congregacion de Notre Dame de Sion (Congregation of Our Lady of Sion),” said Peter Murphy of the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines, Australia Chapter.
Sr. Pat, 71, is an Australian citizen who holds a missionary visa. She has been in the Philippines since the 1990’s. She has worked with the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (“Union of Agricultural Workers”) (UMA) and Pagkakaisa para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo (‘Alliance for Genuine Agrarian Reform” (PATRIA).
Sr. Pat joined international fact finding and solidarity missions in Mindanao in February 2018 that looked into the impact of the Duterte regime’s martial law and counterinsurgency program on poor peasants in the island.
On April 16 2018, six intelligence officers of the Bureau of Immigration went to Sr. Pat’s house in Project 3, Quezon City. The officers “invited” to the Bureau of Immigration offices for random
checking of her immigration status. They denied Fox’s suggestion she come to the office on the next day (17th April).
Sensing that she had no choice, she went with the officers, accompanied by a fellow nun from her congregation.
On arrival at the Immigration office in Intramuros, Manila 16th April, her captors told Fox she is being arrested for joining rallies and “illegal political activities,” and that she will be detained overnight and that she will be deported the following day.
The Duterte regime has moved against any independent scrutiny of human rights violations and assaults on the rule of law.
On April 13, President Rodrigo Duterte threatened Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda of the International Criminal Court that she will face arrest if the ICC pursues its investigation of Duterte’s accountability in extrajudicial killings in the so-called war on drugs.
Sr. Pat Fox has devoted her life to service to the poor in the Philippines and elsewhere. She has worked for justice, peace and against impoverishment and human rights violations. Now the Duterte regime is violating her basic rights ━ deprived of her right to due process, to information on why she is being arrested and to direct access to human rights organizations and legal counsel. (Read related story on page 12)
Sr. Pat Fox should be released immediately. She should not be deported. She should continue working with the Church and the poor of the Philippines as an advocate for peace, justice and the eradication of poverty and human rights violations.
We call on the Australian Government to express concern about this latest example of the Duterte regime’s violations of human rights and undermining of the rule of law in the Philippines. Ω
━ Peter Murphy
BREAKING NEWS: The nun was eventually released but the Bureau of Immigrations took possession of her passport for further investigation.