In Memory of Sr. Mariani Dimaranan, Human Rights Defender*
Volume 20 Number 1
Wednesday, 30 September 2009 17:23

"Human rights is at the core of Gospel teachings. ... Sufferings unite victims. Inside the Marcos prisons, the victims and their families learned to care for each other and share everything with others. It is the link to the victims that gives the activist real participant’s strength." - Sr. Mariani Dimaranan.

Sr. Mariani Dimaranan, against the wishes of her father entered the convent two years after graduating from college. She ran away from home to enter the convent and her father, unable to convince her to return home, filed a case against her in court. But Sr. Mariani stood her ground and with all determination and feistiness became a professed nun of the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Concepcion (SFIC).

When asked why she became a nun, her ready answer was, “because I want to help the poor.” And for Sr. Mariani, serving the poor means not only doing charitable works but being with them in their struggle for a better life.

Even before the declaration of Martial Law, Sr. Mariani, then a professor of history was very vocal against the suppression of civil liberties. Because of this, she was detained for three months at Ipil in Bicutan.

Right after detention, Sr. Mariani became part of the newly established Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), of which she served as Chairperson from 1975 up to 1996. She has also been nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize along with other luminaries like the late former PCGG Chair Haydee Yorac.

Before she passed away, Sr. Mariani, who was already confined to her sick bed because of a series of strokes says that “the struggle is not yet finished. I can see the transgression in human rights being repeated in the poverty of our people. Everyone should remain committed.”

Write up prepared by TFDP when Sr. Mariani, along with 13 others, was given the Gawad Karangalan-Tagapagtanggol ng Karapatang Pantao on September 25, 2005

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