Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Urgent Call to release immediately the 43 health workers!

H.E. Benigno C. Aquino III
President of the Republic of the Philippines
Malacañang Palace,
JP Laurel St., San Miguel
Manila, Philippines
Voice: (+632) 564 1451 to 80
Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968

Amsterdam, October 5 2010

Concerning: urgent call to release immediately the 43 health workers!

Honorable President Benigno Simeon Aquino III,

We join Philippine and international human rights organizations in demanding the immediate release of 43 Filipino health workers who were illegally arrested on 6 February 2010, physically and psychologically tortured, and up to now detained by the military.

The 43 health workers were holding a training seminar when the military arrested them, falsely accusing them of being members of the New People's Army. Subjected to physical and psychological torture, they were charged with rebellion. The military used an old law enacted by the Marcos dictatorship to continue detaining them despite the illegal actions committed by the military.

National human rights organizations like Karapatan, Alliance for the Advancement of People's Rights, and international organizations like Amnesty International and the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, have strongly demanded the release of the 43 health workers. Because they were arrested in the town of Morong, Rizal near Manila, they have also been called the Morong 43.

Now, almost eight months since their illegal arrest, the Morong 43 still languish in prisons under inhuman conditions, continuously harassed by the military.

One of them, Carina “Judilyn” Oliveros gave birth to a child in late July. The military wanted to detain her and the baby. It took action by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to compel the military to allow her to nurse her baby outside prison. She is now at the Philippine General Hospital, but the court only allowed her until next month to stay in the hospital. She is obliged to go back to prison.

Another health worker under detention is 27-year-0ld Mercy Castro who is about to give birth in October.

It is thus becoming ever more urgent that the Aquino government be effectively pressured to grant justice to the 43 health workers and order their immediate and unconditional release. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has declared that the 43 health workers ought to be released.

We issue therefore this strong and urgent call to you as Honorable President of the Philippines to release immediately the 43 health workers!

  • Mr. Jan Vosters in behalf of the Johannes Wier Stichting (JWS): The Johannes Wier Foundation is a Dutch human rights organization for health professionals: doctors, dentists, nurses and paramedics. The focus of the organization is on the specific responsibility of all health care workers regarding human rights.
  • Ms. Monique Verkerk in behalf of the Verpleegkundigen & Verzorgenden Nederland (V&VN): Association for Nurses & Caregivers Netherlands. The V&VN is the professional association by and for nurses and caregivers in the Netherlands. The focus of the association is on professional implementation of their profession and upholding the spirit of pleasure in their work.
  • Besides these two large organizations in the health sector and our hundreds of Netherlands Philippine Solidarity Association (NFS) supporters we got individualswho are calling for the immediate release of the Morong 43. These are:
    1. Jos van Dijk, Van der Voort van Zijplaan 67, 3571 VV Utrecht, The Netherlands
    2. Edgar Koning, Rembrandtlaan 25, 7606 GH Almelo, The Netherlands
    3. Dr. Remco van de Pas, Board member of Dokters of the World, The Netherlands
    4. Elly Hessel, Old Catholic Church, The Netherlands
    5. Bernadette Thirion, The Netherlands
    6. Mr. M.J.F. Stelling, Lawyer, Chair of Association Lawyers for Peace, Couwenhoven 52-05, 3703 ER Zeist, The Netherlands
    7. Rev. Fr Wim de Boer, Old Catholic Church, Velserbroek, The Netherlands
    8. Mr. Wilbrord Braakman, Natural grower of Tulips, De Verbinding 5, 1741 DB Schagen
    9. Mrs. Cathrien de Wit, De Verbinding 5, 1741 DB Schagen, The Netherlands
    10. Jeroen van de Loo, Mission Development Peace (MOV), Murillohof 13, 1816XT Alkmaar, The Netherlands
    11. J. W. van Leenhoff, Environmentalist, Leiden, The Netherlands
    12. Harry Bos, Alkmaar, The Netherlands
    13. Marjolein Eshuis, Mensen met een Missie, Programme Officer Asia, The Haque, The Netherlands
    14. Ties Prakken, Lawyer, Professor in Criminal Law at Maastricht University, Jury member of the Permanent Peoples Tribunal (PPT) Second Session on human rights violations in the Philippines, that took place in The Hague on March 21-25, 2007, The Netherlands
    15. Tina Stil, Church Social Worker, Alkmaar, The Netherlands
    16. Mr. Theo Droog in behalf of the Nederlands-Filippijnse Solidariteitsbeweging (NFS): The Netherlands Philippine Solidarity Association (NFS) responds to serious and pressing issues in the Philippines, which adversely affect the people’s welfare. The focus is on providing opportunity’s for linking and partnership of organizations.

Signed in behalf of all individuals and the members of the mentioned organizations calling for the urgent immediate release of the 43 health workers.

With kindest regards,

Mr. Theo Droog
Chair, Netherlands Philippines Solidarity Association

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