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• SONA 2015 Urgent Plea from Women of NZ, Australia to Aquino: Free Miradel Torres & Baby Karl, Free All Political Prisoners
• (SONA 2015) Karapatan to BS Aquino: Hindi ka namin malilimutan

SONA 2015 Urgent Plea from Women of NZ, Australia to Aquino: Free Miradel Torres & Baby Karl, Free All Political Prisoners

publicinfo: Jul 27 12:25PM +0800

Press Statement
July 27,2015

References:

Helen Te Hira
Auckland Philippines Solidarity
ph.solidarity@gmail.com
Mobile: +64 0272445764

May Kotsakis
NZ Philippine Caucus for Peace
maykotsakis@yahoo.com.au

SONA 2015 Urgent Plea from Women of NZ, Australia to Aquino: Free Miradel Torres & Baby Karl, Free All Political Prisoners

In an open letter, twenty-five (25) rights defenders including 17 women’s rights advocates from various groups along with leaders of solidarity organisations in Australia and New Zealand sent urgent plea for Philippine government to release unjustly detained women activists especially Miradel Torres, a young mother separated from her 8-month old son. (Full text below)

MIRADEL TORRES is a COMMUNITY ACTIVIST and a MOTHER, NOT a MURDERER.

Clearly, the case of Torres, a member of women’s advocacy group GABRIELA who was arrested on fabricated murder charge while she was heavily pregnant, is one of the outstanding reasons why the recent International Peoples’ Tribunal held in Washington DC declared the Philippine government GUILTY of gross and systematic violations of human rights,” May Kotsakis of the Philippine Caucus for Peace stated. GABRIELA – Australia along with immigrant women associations and Philippines-Australia solidarity groups
endorsed the letter sent today to Pres. Aquino, the Department of Justice and the Commission on Human Rights.

From New Zealand, signatories include Laila Harré, Former Minister of NZ Women’s Affairs, Catherine Delahunty, Member of Parliament, Green Party Aotearoa New Zealand. Two filmmakers Dean Hapeta and Abi King-Jones also endorsed the letter in light of the detention of filmmaker Maricon Montajes from the University of the Philippines, currently the youngest of all the 528 political prisoners in the Philippines.

“We send this letter to convey a message to the Aquino government that the world is watching and continues to support the quest for freedom for all Filipinos unjustly detained for their political beliefs,” Helen Te Hira of Auckland Philippines Solidarity (APS) stated.

The letter urges Pres. Aquino: “In the name of justice and humanitarian grounds, we urge you to declare presidential amnesty for all political prisoners as part of your State of the Nation Address. We believe this
will be a great honour for your father and a golden opportunity to leave a legacy of meaningful change towards the final year of your administration.” (Full text of letter below)
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Open Letter to Pres. Benigno Simeon Aquino III from Australia and New Zealand
FREE MIRADEL TORRES AND BABY KARL! AMNESTY FOR ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS NOW!

We are mothers, women’s rights advocates and concerned citizens in Australia and New Zealand. We are greatly disturbed that serious human rights breaches continue to affect many women and children in the
Philippines. In particular we are very concerned about the plight of a women’s rights activist and young mother MIRADEL TORRES (27) who was arrested on trumped-up murder charge in June 2014 while she was four months pregnant and suffering threatened miscarriage from profuse bleeding. Upon giving birth this year, Miradel struggled to breastfeed and keep her baby safe from highly infectious diseases within the prison conditions.

We lament that a recent court decision required her baby Karl to be separated from her as soon as the baby turned 6 months. Keeping Miradel in detention means depriving her of opportunity to bond with her baby in the crucial first years. It is so sad for this young mother to be condemned to a life of missed birthdays and other important milestones in family life – a fate that has been suffered by over 500 political prisoners around the country. We cry out for freedom and justice for Miradel and baby Karl. Likewise we cry for freedom and justice for other sisters in unjust detention on trumped-up charges, including:

· ANDREA ROSAL – Arrested while pregnant, Andrea was denied proper medical care while in prison and her baby girl died shortly after birth.

· MARICON MONTAJES – The youngest political prisoner in the Philippines, Maricon is a journalist and film maker from the University of the Philippines who was integrating with rural poor for a film project. She
was shot during a military raid then detained soon after hospitalization.

· SHARON CABUSAO – A sister in the women’s rights and trade union movement, Sharon was arrested along with her husband and another companion.

Mr. President, we remember on your visit to Australia and New Zealand in 2012, you declared that the Philippines’ human rights situation has greatly improved when you assumed power. But the fate of Miradel, Andrea, Maricon, Sharon and many others who have been unjustly separated from their families
show otherwise. There are now 528 political prisoners and there have been 238 extra-judicial killings under your watch, as of 30 March 2015 report of the local human rights group Karapatan.

You often spoke about your family’s sacrifices when your own father was incarcerated during the Marcos dictatorship. Your nephews and nieces are lucky to have the love of your sisters around them. Please let Miradel enjoy her right to be with her baby too. In the name of justice and humanitarian grounds, we urge you to declare presidential amnesty for all political prisoners as part of your State of the Nation Address. We believe this will be a great honour for your father and a golden opportunity to leave a legacy of meaningful change towards the final year of your administration.

FREEDOM AND JUSTICE FOR MIRADEL AND ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS NOW!

Signed:

From NEW ZEALAND:

Helen Te Hira, Auckland Philippines Solidarity
Catherine Delahunty, Women’s Rights Advocate & Member of Parliament, Green Party Aotearoa NZ
Laila Harré, Former Minister, NZ Women’s Affairs
Rev. Dr. Carolyn Kelly, Chaplain, Maclaurin Chapel, The University of Auckland
Matilde Tayawa-Figuracion, Justice of the Peace Co-Founder, Wellington Women Walk for Peace
Belinda Bonzon-Liu, Co-Founder, Wellington Women Walk for Peace
Jane Kelsey, Professor of Law, University of Auckland
Gillian Southey, Christian World Service
Maxine Gay, Retail and Finance Secretary, FIRST Union
Abi King-Jones, NZ Filmmaker
Dean Hapeta aka Te Kupu, NZ Filmmaker
Rev. Chris Sullivan, Justice and Peace Group, St Mark’s Pakuranga
Murray Horton, Philippines Solidarity Network of Aotearoa
Rod Prosser, Wellington Kiwi Pinoy

From AUSTRALIA:
May Kotsakis, Philippine Caucus for Peace
Angelita Ladera, Chairperson-Gabriela Australia
Carmelita Baltazar, Chairperson, Gabriela Western Australia
Lina Cabaero, Coordinator – Asian Women at Work
Jane Corpuz-Brock, Executive Officer – Immigrant Women’s Speakout Association
Malou Logan, Coordinator PACIN (Philippines Australia Cultural Interaction Network)
Stephanie Rabusa, Chairperson – Anakbayan (Patriotic Youth Alliance of the Philippines)
Peter Brock, Chairperson – APDP (Australian Action for Peace and Development in the Philippines)
George Kotsakis, Chairperson, Migrante Australia
Peter Murphy, Secretary-PAUL (Philippines Australia Union Link)
Andrew Morrison, Co-Chairperson-PASA (Philippines Australia Solidarity Association)

Cc: Department of Justice, Commission on Human Rights
United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders
United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women

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(SONA 2015) Karapatan to BS Aquino: Hindi ka namin malilimutan

publicinfo: Jul 27 11:51AM +0800

Press Statement
July 27, 2015

Reference: Cristina “Tinay” Palabay, Secretary General, +63917-3162831
Angge Santos, Media Liaison, +63918-9790580

Karapatan to BS Aquino: Hindi ka namin malilimutan (We will never forget you)

(Attached: Table of Human Rights Violations July 2010-June 2015)

SONA 2015

The 2,000 soldiers, 4,000 police, K-9 units aside from the concrete barriers are expected to block the protesters on Monday, BS Aquino’s last State of the Nation Address (SONA). “The state forces will try to defend the indefensible president whose crimes against the Filipino people are worth a thousand lifetimes in jail. The SONA overkill security preparations are indications of a regime that is scared witless of the people’s defiance and actions,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay.

“The president is a hard core criminal. He wilfully commits one crime after another and then lies to his teeth in public, just as we expect him to do during the SONA,” Palabay said.

However BS Aquino packaged his loop of unproductive lies, he will always be remembered as a certified fascist. As of June 2015, Aquino is accountable for the 262 victims of extrajudicial killings and 293 victims of frustrated extrajudicial killings; 27 victims of enforced disappearances; 125 cases of torture; and 771 cases of illegal arrests and detention; and for the 537 political prisoners.

BS Aquino will always be remembered for the illegal arrest of Andrea Rosal and the death of her two-day old baby Diona; for the illegal arrest of Miradel Torres who gave birth to a baby boy while in detention and as the boy grows up in harsh conditions in jail.

BS Aquino will always be remembered as a saboteur of and a double crosser in the peace talks between the GPH and the National Democratic Front; for his gross violations of the signed agreements between the two parties; for arresting peace consultants by charging them with criminal offenses; for his disinterest in truly solving the roots of the armed conflict and in finding the way to genuine peace.

BS Aquino will always be remembered for his love for the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo generals—for coddling Palparan at Camp Bonifacio, for placing murderous generals Año, Baladad, Visaya, Iriberri at the top positions;

BS Aquino will always be remembered for the kilometric queue of people waiting to ride the MRT/LRT only to crush at the track’s end; for the parking lot that is EDSA; for the bloody demolition of urban poor shanties; for the unending price hikes of basic commodities; and for the privatization of the government hospitals such as the Orthopaedic Hospital.

BS Aquino will always be remembered for his failure to provide decent jobs and wages that drives away Mary Jane Velosos to foreign lands and for workers to make do with meagre salaries and unsafe and inhuman working conditions; and the peasants who are still struggling for a piece of land to till.

BS Aquino will always be remembered for the congressional and presidential pork that is also used to oil its killing machine; by spending billions of pesos to fund paramilitary groups, and engage in psy-war projects such as the PAMANA in a bid to coopt and silence the people perceived as enemies.

BS Aquino will always be remembered for the criminal neglect of the victims of typhoons and disasters, for the wasted relief supplies, for the rehabilitation projects that never were. BS Aquino will always be remembered for the death of Marcelo Monterona, Felix Basig, Cristina Jose, Gildegardo Hernandez, Jefferson Custodio—all typhoon survivors and relief workers who organized themselves to collectively rehabilitate their communities and rebuild their lives without the government’s help.

BS Aquino will always be remembered as the President who put 44 of his own men in a suicide mission and pretended not know anything about it to save his master, the Obama government and his BFF Gen. Alan Purisima.

BS Aquino will always be remembered for the re-colonization of the Philippines through the the lopsided Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). The EDCA, signed by US and GPH government aims to put deploy more US soldiers, war materiel and weapons inside the Philippine territory. BS Aquino will always be remembered as our country is dragged into the US wars of intervention all-over the world.

Through his five years, BS Aquino is full-proof “Impunity King” and a war monger, who shows no sign of let-up in the use of violence against the people.

“This is Aquino’s tuwid na daan, and we will remember,” said Palabay. “At the day’s end, we will remember. We will not forget Aquino’s tuwid na daan. With less than a year in office, BS Aquino deserves nothing from the Filipino people but defiance.” ###

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PUBLIC INFORMATION DESK
publicinfo@karapatan.org
———————————————————————
Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
2nd Flr. Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin corner Matatag Sts., Central District
Diliman, Quezon City, PHILIPPINES
1101Telefax: (+63 2) 4354146
Web: http://www.karapatan.org

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.

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