Contact: Kuusela Hilo
Justice for Melissa Roxas Campaign
To mark the 2nd year anniversary of Melissa Roxas’s survival of enforced disappearance and torture and the international campaign to surface Melissa, hundreds of supporters have signed on to an open letter addressing Philippine President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, Department of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and the Commission on Human Rights in the Philippines.
Two years ago, an international campaign was launched to demand the immediate release of American citizen Melissa Roxas and her two colleagues, who were abducted by the military while doing community health work in Tarlac, Philippines. Because of this worldwide outcry, Roxas was returned to her family that same day. Upon Roxas’ release, it was confirmed that she was a survivor of both abduction and torture.
To this day, Roxas and her two colleagues are just a handful of living witnesses to the government-sponsored enforced disappearances and torture that continues with impunity today in the Philippines. To this day, the perpetrators responsible for this ordeal remain at large, abetted by government cover-ups by officials such as Etta Rosales of the Commission on Human Rights. More importantly, two years later, international protests, petitions and prayers continue for Melissa Roxas and all those who have suffered human rights violations at the hands of the Philippine government. “We will never forget that day in late May, two years ago, when we launched the campaign to surface Melissa Roxas and her two companions. We needed an international campaign to search for Melissa and her colleagues then, and we know we need to continue our international campaign today to seek justice for what was done to Melissa and the thousands of other victims of human rights abuses by the Philippine military,” said Rhonda Ramiro of the Justice for Melissa Campaign.
Since May 19, 2011, supporters of the Justice for Melissa Campaign have been holding solidarity gatherings and protests commemorating the 6 days Melissa Roxas was held incommunicado by the Philippine military. Nationwide, BAYAN USA, a convener of the Justice for Melissa Campaign, led community gatherings and protests to demand justice for Melissa Roxas. Youth, artists, friends of Roxas and community leaders created a special two-year anniversary video in Los Angeles which debuted during an intimate gathering on May 19, 2011 at Rosewood United Methodist Church to break bread and provide bolstering support for Melissa on a day now marked as a day of survival.