Friday, August 27, 2010

Women's Global Network for Reproductive Rights -- Follow Up Oliveros & Castro

Women's Global Network for Reproductive Rights
13 Dao Street, Project 3, Barangay Quirino 3-A
Quezon City, 1102, Philippines

Secretary Atty. Leila de Lima
Department of Justice
Padre Faura Street Ermita, Manila

August 27th 2010

Dear Secretary de Lima,

On behalf of the Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights, we are writing to follow up on our letter sent to your office on June 30th which called for the unconditional humanitarian release of two expectant mothers and community health care workers incarcerated in Camp Bagong Diwa.

We are encouraged to hear that twenty-six year old Judilyn Oliveros has been granted a stay of three months with her new born in the Philippine General Hospital, but continue to be alarmed about the continued detainment of twenty-seven year old Mercy Castro—who expects to give birth in October—and forty-one other health care workers who are all being held under cramped, unsanitary conditions and high security surveillance in this jail. We are also aware of the prospect that Oliveros may be again incarcerated after three months. We remain concerned about the violations of all of their rights, including to their health and well-being, but trust that your office will be proactive to ensure that that Castro will not be forced to give birth in jail, and that her infant will not be subjected to unjust incarceration either.

The Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR), along with our members around the world—many of whom are community health care providers and/or health advocates—continue to urge the new administration of the Philippines to uphold and genuinely commit to the principles of justice and human rights frameworks by:
  • Taking concrete steps to uphold the binding international obligations made by the Philippine government under the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women, Beijing Platform for Action, Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Convention Against Torture and Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
  • Affirming the reproductive health rights of Mercy Castro by granting an unconditional release prior to October, opening the opportunities for her to access pre-and post-natal health care, as well as counselling, family support, and decent, dignified living conditions.
  • Affirming the reproductive health rights of Judilyn Oliveros and the health of her infant by reviewing her case and granting her release, so that she will not face the prospect of returning to Metro Manila's high security jail.
  • Reviewing the cases of all of the forty-three detained health workers, retracting the charges against them, and releasing all of them unconditionally.

We trust the urgency of the situation will compel you and other responsible ministers in the Aquino administration to act immediately. Please feel free to contact the WGNRR campaigns officer, Tanya Roberts-Davis, by email or phone 913 6708, with questions you may have. We await your response to the concerns expressed herein and in the letter dated June 30. Thank you.


Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights
Cc: Commission on Human Rights; Karapatan; Health Alliance for Democracy; Health Action Information Network

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