Hunger strike in the Philippines

Camp Bagong Diwa The Morong 43 – health care workers arrested in February on charges of making bombs and held since then – began a hunger strike on December 3 in an effort to end their detention which they and many others, including the United Church of Christ in the Philippines and the National Council of Churches in the Philippines recognize as illegal. Two of the women in the group have given birth during their imprisonment.

Their statement as posted on Facebook:

December 3, 2010
Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan
Today we begin our hunger strike. This is the only course of action left us to end our continued illegal detention, there being no clear action by the government for our unconditional release.
On December 6, we will be on our 10th month in detention. We were arrested last February 6 by a joint AFP-PNP operation based on a defective warrant. We were tortured physically and psychologically, deprived of sleep, subjected to various indignities, threatened with harm, denied legal counsel for several days and illegally detained until now. Planted evidence was used and false charges were filed against us. Our human rights continue to be violated. Every day in jail is an injustice to us.
For the last 10 months, our families and friends from different sectors have never stopped working for our release. Even the international community was alarmed over our illegal arrest and continued detention. Various human rights advocates here and abroad have been unceasing in staging activities and protest actions calling on the President Benigno Aquino III to withdraw the charges against us.
The Department of Justice has conducted a review of our case. The findings have been submitted to President Aquino. The president himself has admitted that our arrest was based on a defective warrant and that “evidence wrongly gotten cannot be used.” Yet despite these findings, there are no clear indications that the charges against us will be withdrawn anytime soon.
Our action today and in the succeeding days is a call to President Aquino to simply order the withdrawal of the case against us forthwith so that we may be immediately and unconditionally released. We believe it is only fitting that we stage this hunger strike as the world observes Human Rights Week. We fight not only for our freedom but for the freedom of all political prisoners nationwide.

'Morong 43' hold hunger strike to get Aquino's attention

Philippines: 'Morong 43' go on hunger strike

Free the 43+ Healthworkers blog

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in ministry with the people of the Philippines

Worship resources for Human Rights Day, December 10

The picture of the camp entrance is by Nancy Eng MacNeill who was with a group of visitors to the Morong 43.

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