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Friday Forum: Mark John Sanchez

November 12, 2021 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Religious Human Rights in the Philippines under Marcos
and Martial Law, 1972-1986

Dr. Mark John Sanchez
Research Associate
Office of the Chancellor
Vanderbilt University

As representatives of Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), religious activists such as Sr. Mariani Dimaranan traveled worldwide, working to highlight human rights injustice in the Philippines and to gather support for her organization. After Ferdinand Marcos’s declaration of martial law in 1972, TFDP quickly became one of the most prominent human rights organizations in the Philippines. International agencies such as Amnesty International relied on the connections provided by TFDP to understand the human rights abuses under Marcos. TFDP worked locally to document instances of political arrests as well as provide material support for detainees and their families.

In this talk, Dr. Sanchez shows how religious figures such as Sr. Mariani, engaging deeply with teachings around the “option for the poor” in the post-Vatican II Catholic Church, were central to the development of institutional human rights in the Philippines. Human rights offered political possibilities to grassroots activists in the Philippines, even as the institution of human rights was most frequently debated as a Cold War middle path in Western Europe and North America. The formation of a human rights solidarity movement also required that Filipino organizations find ways to navigate between welcoming the crucial aid offered by international supporters while maintaining autonomy over their organizational efforts. Ultimately, the efforts of TFDP activists drew international attention to local human rights violations, helped lay the groundwork for the eventual Marcos overthrow, and profoundly shaped the human rights movement in the Philippines beyond the Marcos period.

This event is free and open to the public.


November 12, 2021
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Event Category:


206 Ingraham Hall
1155 Observatory Dr.
Madison, WI 53706 United States
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