Migrante-Europe joins the growing appeal for the immediate release of political prisoners in the Philippines on humanitarian grounds as the world wrestles with the danger and harm of the COVID-19.

Migrante-Europe firmly believes that political prisoners in the Philippines have been unjustly arrested charged and detained. Many of them in advanced age and suffering from life-threatening illnesses.

Migrante-Europe supports the call of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet for governments to take urgent action to protect the health and safety of people in detention since, in many countries, “detention facilities are overcrowded, in some cases dangerously so. People are often held in unhygienic conditions and health services are inadequate or even non-existent. Physical distancing and self-isolation in such conditions are practically impossible.”

Migrante-Europe is alarmed with the data from the Philippine Bureau of Jail Management and Penology  of a 450% jail congestion rate nationwide in October last year, with 380 of 467 detention facilities in the country filled beyond capacity. Lack of clean water, sanitation and adequate medical services and facilities are also common among Philippine prisons.

The inhumane conditions in prisons imperil the life and health of detainees, hence, this urgent call to the Philippine government for the immediate decongestion of prisons and release of political prisoners, on humanitarian grounds, especially the elderly, sick with chronic, debilitating or life-threatening medical conditions, pregnant and nursing mothers, and those who are due for parole or pardon.#

Marlon Lacsamana
Secretary General
1 April 2020