“Hazel was indeed raped, she was a victim of human trafficking and that the Philippine government had been sorely remiss in providing her adequate and proper assistance.” This was the statement of the mission team, headed by Gabriela Representative Hon. Liza Maza, that went to Okinawa, Japan last week to look into the case of Hazel, the 22-year old Filipina allegedly raped by a US soldier.
“We saw the medical records of Hazel. Hazel vividly accounted to us what transpired the night she was raped. And coming from the perspective of a women’s organization which has handled many cases of
violence against women, we are fully convinced that Hazel was indeed raped,” said Lana Linaban, GABRIELA deputy secretary general, who was also a part of the mission team.
“Just as tragically, while the Department of Foreign Affairs paints itself as concerned and supportive of Hazel, the truth is they have callously neglected Hazel at a time when she needed help the most,”
added Linaban added.
According to the team, Honorary Consul Ako Alarcon, Philippine Consulate in Okinawa knew of Hazel’s case the very same time the girl was hospitalized after the rape but Hazel was not provided any legal
counsel during the process of investigation to determine if there was probable cause for the case. Hazel, the team said, was on her own during the whole process of investigation given that she has no
knowledge of the legal system in Japan, does not speak nor understand the local language and that she hardly knows anyone because she just arrived in Japan just three days before the rape happened.
The mission team also said that Hazel is one of the many Filipina victims of human trafficking for the “rest and recreation needs” of US soldiers stationed in the US military base in Okinawa. US military base in Okinawa occupies about 20% of the province’s total area and 75% of US Forces in Japan is stationed in Okinawa. “This scenario makes women, especially Filipinas working as entertainers, in Okinawa vulnerable to abuse,” said Maza.
“US soldiers in Okinawa has a long list of rape cases of women starting way back 1945. From 1985 to 2005 alone, there were 34 cases of rape committed by US military personnel stationed in Okinawa. Buit
as in the experience of the Philippines, justice was denied the victims. The US has distorted and usurped the sovereign right of the country to prosecute US soldiers ,” added Maza.
“Hazel must be served justice. The Philippine government must push the Japanese government to reinvestigate the case. Wherever the US soldiers commit crime, sovereign countries should have the sovereign right to prosecute,” concluded Maza. #