President of the Republic, Malacañang Palace
Gen. Avelino Razon
Ret. PNP, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP)
Department of National Defense
Atty. Agnes Devanadera
Department of Justice
Atty. Leila De Lima
Commission on Human Rights
Dear President Arroyo, Gen Razon, Noberto Gonzales, Atty, Agnes Devanadera, Atty. Leila De Lima
Re: Illegal arrest, detention and torture of health workers
The People’s Health Movement, a global network bringing together grassroots activists, civil society organisations, academics and health workers from around the world, strongly condemns the illegal arrest, detention, and torture of 43 community health workers and doctors in the Philippines.
The health workers who were conducting advanced health skills training for their use in poorly resourced rural areas, were blindfolded, frisked, and forcibly removed and taken to Camp Capinpin, Tanay, Rizal. The arrest of these health workers is an attack on the right to health of the poor.
The People’s Health Movement strongly condemns the arrest, detention and torture of the health workers, and demands:
- The immediate release of the community health workers, doctors, nurse and midwife from Camp Capinpin
- The government ensure that the victims are safely returned to their place of arrest and their belongings returned immediately;
- Access to medical care, counselling and visits from relatives while in detention;
- The formation of an independent fact-finding and investigation team composed of representatives from human rights groups, the Church, local government, and the Commission on Human Rights that will look into raid and illegal arrest of the health workers.
- The military to stop the labelling and targeting of human rights defenders as “members of front organizations of the communists” and “enemies of the state.”
We would like to remind the Philippine Government that it is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and party to all the major Human Rights instruments, and thus bound to observe all of these instruments’ provisions.
(Sgd.) Bridget Lloyd
On behalf of the People’s Health Movement Co-ordinating Commission