Help free 5 Human Rights Defenders being held as political prisoners

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CNN and The World Organization Against Torture are reporting that five human rights defenders and a 1-year-old baby were unjustly arrested by the Philippine National Police on February 7, 2020.  The raid occurred in the middle of the night. One of the arrested, Marissa Cabaljao - a mother of three - was an organizer for The People Surge (The Philippines' largest alliance of storm survivors). The Police also took Ms. Cabaljao’s 1-year-old baby Malaya Cabaljao. Baby Malaya has since been released. For 6 years I have been documenting the work of Ms. Cabaljao. My wife and I are Malaya’s Godparents. We are devastated to learn of this inhumane action taken by the Philippine Government. This situation is dire. Last year more environmentalists were killed in the Philippines than any other country in the world. Please join us in calling on the authorities to release these people.

*UPDATE* Journalist Frenchiemae Cumpio and Human Rights Defender Marissa Cabaljao have been released on temporary bail. The three others remain in their holding cells and are being denied bail. Arraignment is set for March 25th. You can help us raise funds to cover their bail and legal fees here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-free-5-human-rights-defenders-in-danger

Bail has been set at ₱120,000 pesos, $3115 CAD / $2350 USD. The majority of families in the Eastern Visayas (where Tacloban is located) live in poverty with an income of ₱57 ($1.13 USD) per day. (6) That means paying off this bail would take the average family in Tacloban more than 5 and a half years. 

// OUR DEMANDS \\

1) Guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Ms. Marissa Cabaljao and her 1-year-old baby Malaya, Ms. Jennefer Aguhob, Mr. Alexander Philip Abinguna, Ms. Mira Legion, Ms. Frenchie Mae Cumpio, and Ms. Mariell Domanquill, as well as of all human rights defenders in the Philippines;

2) We demand the immediate and unconditional release of Marissa Cabaljao, her 1-year-old baby Malaya, Ms. Jennefer Aguhob, Mr. Alexander Philip Abinguna, Ms. Mira Legion, Ms. Frenchie Mae Cumpio and Ms. Mariell Domanquill, as well as all other human rights defenders arbitrarily detained in the Philippines, since their detention is arbitrary as it seems to be merely aimed at punishing them for their human rights activities;

3) Guarantee their unhindered access to a lawyer of their choosing and their family members;

4) We demand that you conform to the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, in particular with Articles 1 and 12.2;

Thank you.

 

FURTHER INFORMATION...

Tacloban Raid Progressive Groups - CNN

Statement from The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World Organization Against Torture: “The Observatory recalls that since President Duterte took power in June 2016, human rights defenders have faced relentless vilification and red-tagging, and have been repeatedly subjected to trumped-up charges and lengthy pre-trial arbitrary detention, with the aim to discredit their legitimate work and to silence all critical voices[1]. The Observatory expresses its utmost concern over the arbitrary arrest and judicial harassment of the above-mentioned human rights defenders as it seems to be only aimed at punishing them for their legitimate human rights activities, and urges the Philippines authorities to immediately and unconditionally release them and all other human rights defenders who are arbitrarily detained in the country, as well as to adopt effective measures to ensure the protection of human rights defenders in the country.”

// CONTACT INFO \\

Mr. Rodrigo Duterte, President of the Republic of the Philippines, Fax: +632 742-1641 / 929-3968, Email: op@president.gov.ph or send a message through http://president.gov.ph/contact-us/
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Mr. Teodoro Locsin Jr, Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines, Email: osec@dfa.gov.ph
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Hon. Menardo Guevarra, Secretary, Department of Justice of the Philippines, Fax: (+632) 521-1614, Email: communications@doj.gov.ph
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Hon. Jose Luis Martin Gascon, Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines, Fax: +632 929 0102, Email: chairgascon.chr@gmail.com
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Police General Oscar Albayalde, Chief, Philippine National Police, National Headquarters Building, Camp BGen Rafael Crame, Quezon City, 1111 Philippines. Fax: +632 724 8749 Email: pnpo.adm1n@gmail.com; ocpnp@pnp.gov.ph; srocpnp@yahoo.com
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H.E. Mr. Evan P. Garcia, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the United Nations Office in Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 716 19 32 Email: mission@genevapm.ph
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Embassy of the Philippines in Brussels, Belgium, Fax: +32 02 345 64 25, Email: brusselspe@gmail.com

SOURCES - 

https://cnnphilippines.com/regional/2020/2/7/tacloban-raid-progressive-group.html

https://www.omct.org/human-rights-defenders/urgent-interventions/philippines/2020/02/d25691/