In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic it is critical more now than ever that political prisoners be released. Many countries have done so, but the Philippines has held fast and refused to follow suit despite calls from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and others.
The human rights organization Karpatan has documented that out of 610 political prisoners currently held in the Philippines, 102 are already sick. Many of these are life-threatening or debilitating illnesses and 48 are elderly. All these prisoners should be released immediately on humanitarian grounds.
The VDLC has sent a letter, at the request of our friends at Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights, calling on President Duterte to take immediate action to save lives.