[Statement] Give Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDL) a fighting chance against COVID19 -HAHR

Give Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDL) a fighting chance against COVID19

Health Action for Human Rights (HAHR) supports the call for the temporary release of vulnerable persons in detention on humanitarian grounds during this health emergency caused by the Covid19. The Philippine government should heed the call of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet “to protect the health and safety of people in detention and other closed facilities, as part of overall efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.”

HAHR bears witness to the dangers that PDLs face inside the detention centers. The detention facilities in the Philippines are highly congested, unhygienic, unable to provide decent nutrition and lack the appropriate health facilities. This situation exacerbates the already vulnerable status of the elderly, sick and pregnant detainees, and they will be first to suffer if the virus begins its rampage in detention centers. Detainees deserve the same protection as the general public, and if the BJMP and Bureau of Corrections cannot provide that, they might as well support the temporary release of selected populations in their care to give them a fighting chance against this health crisis.

HAHR further appeals that aside from releasing the vulnerable, consideration could also be extended to one of couples detained, breastfeeding mothers and those with disabilities.

The detention centers should also be decongested and the selection of those to be temporarily released could also include those who have light offenses, are due for parole or those who may avail of the right to bail. Political prisoners who are unjustly detained should also be candidates for release.

Geneve R. Reyes, MD 09088624524
Reginaldo Pamugas, MD 09178654723

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