6/13/2014, Geneva, Switzerland – International civil society organization Civicus World Alliance for Citizen Participation (Civicus) and Philippine human rights group Karapatan, through Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay, jointly responded yesterday to the report of the Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women during the interactive dialogues at the 26th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Speaking on behalf of Palabay, Atty. Mary Kristerie A. Baleva of the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines delivered a succinct yet vivid oral statement on the floor, in the presence of various State Missions, international NGOs, and UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) officers and staff, disclosing the violations suffered by Filipino women detainees. She highlighted the case of political prisoner Andrea Rosal, who was seven months pregnant when she was arrested and detained in March 2014 on the basis of dubious charges.
The UN body holding sessions at Palais des Nations heard how Rosal did not receive proper, immediate and adequate maternal and pre-natal care due to the insensitivity and negligence of prison officials and guards, endured and continues to suffer inhumane treatment together with 31 other women detainees who shared her cramped and squalid cell. Still under detention, Rosal gave birth to a daughter, who died within two days.
In contrast to the inordinate delay of bringing the then expectant mother to the hospital from the infernal jailhouse, the prison officials, lawyer and doctor hastily whisked Rosal back despite the absence of any medical clearance from her attending doctors.
The statement publicly asked the UN body and its pertinent mechanisms to look into the case of Rosal for multiple violations of the 1955 UN Standard Minimum Rules on the Treatment of Prisoners and the 2010 UN Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-custodial Measures for Women Offenders (the Bangkok Rules).
The oral intervention endorsed by the Philippine group Ecumenical Voice for Peace and Human Rights (EcuVoice) also called for the immediate release of Rosal and other women detainees especially the sick and elderly.
Aside from Palabay and Baleva, the EcuVoice delegation also includes one of Rosal’s counsel Atty. Edre U. Olaia, Secretary General of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) and Bureau member of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) which has UN Ecosoc consultative status.
Karapatan Secretary General
Edre U. Olalia
NUPL Secretary General
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KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties. It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign.