To commemorate Mother’s Day
As the world commemorates Mother’s Day tomorrow, women’s rights activists today started an online petition at http://chn.ge/1EjBbQm calling for the immediate release of women political prisoners in the Philippines, highlighting the cases of detained mothers Miradel Torres and Andrea Rosal.
The initiators of the petition include actress and beauty queen Maria Isabel Lopez, former congresswoman Liza Maza, film maker Kiri Dalena, and women human rights defender Cristina Palabay. They also used the following hashtags: #CelebrateMothers #FreeAndreaPH #FreeMiradelPH #FreeOurSistersPH
Land rights activist Andrea Rosal, 32, was also pregnant with her first child when arrested on March 27, 2014. The case of Rosal, an organizer of peasants in Laguna, is similar to that of Torres’ – she was denied due process and accused of criminal offenses to impede her work as a woman human rights defender. Subjected to inhumane conditions in jail, Andrea lost her baby a few days after she gave birth on May 2014. Andrea is the daughter of the deceased spokesperson of the Communist Party of the Philippines Roger Rosal. She was abducted by the military when she was a child to force her father to surrender. The military surfaced her after a strong campaign denouncing her abduction was conducted.
Miradel Torres, 27, was pregnant with her second child when she was illegally arrested on June 20, 2014. Torres, a member of Gabriela, was not accorded due process and is charged with fabricated criminal charges. She gave birth to her baby boy last November 2014 at the Philippine General Hospital and she continues to rear the baby in jail.
Both are still detained. There are 42 women political prisoners out of the 485 total political prisoners in the Philippines. They are considered political prisoners because they were illegally arrested and imprisoned for their political beliefs and their work for social justice and human rights issues in the country.
“As a mother, I strongly empathize with Miradel and Andrea and all women political prisoners who are kept from or restricted in nurturing their children because they are unjustly detained,” said Maria Isabel Lopez.
Liza Maza, for her part said, “any arrest or imprisonment of women because of their political beliefs or exercise of their civil and political impedes the participation, especially of women at the grassroots in political processes, where their leadership is most needed,” she added.
Kiri Dalena and Cristina Palabay, convenors of women’s rights group Tanggol Bayi, said “these attacks against women human rights defenders should stop and they should immediately be released based on just and humanitarian grounds.”
The said petition, addressed to Philippine President Benigno Aquino III, will also be circulated among international women’s rights groups.
Maria Isabel Lopez (+63917-5780011)
Liza Maza (+63917-8286015)
Kiri Dalena (+63920-9755574)
Cristina Palabay (+63917-3162831)
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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.