Rights group asks UN to #SaveMaryJane from death row
MANILA, Philippines - A Philippine-based alliance of human rights organization has sought the help of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to save Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) Mary Jane Veloso from the Indonesian death row.
In an open letter addressed to UNHRC President Joachim Rücker, Karapatan's secretary general Cristina Palabay appealed to the UNHRC to "exercise its moral suasion on the Indonesian government in overturning the death sentence on Veloso and possibly grant her clemency."
Veloso, a 30-year-old mother of two was arrested, tried, and sentenced to death in 2010 for attempting to smuggle 2.6 kilograms of heroin into Indonesia. The head of the country, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo rejected her request for clemency in January 2015. (FAST FACTS: The case of Mary Jane Veloso)
However, her family believes that she is just a victim of an international crime syndicate that makes use of innocent women in their acts of drug trafficking around Asia. (READ: A slow death for family of Filipina on Indonesia's death row)
Karapatan hopes the UNHRC will exhaust all means to save the only Filipina on death row in Indonesia.
"We implore the Council to take meaningful measures, including a review of human rights records and compliance to international human rights instruments of its member States," Palabay wrote.
The alliance also requested the UNHRC to hold the Indonesian and Philippine governments "accountable for this injustice on Veloso and her family." (READ: Mary Jane's sons to Jokowi: 'Release our innocent mom')
According to Migrante International, a global network of OFWs, Veloso is the 8th Filipino put on death row under President Benigno Aquino III's administration - the most number of OFW executions since 1970.
"The Philippine government should be made accountable as well for its gross inability to protect its citizens who, in the absence of better opportunities in the country, venture to seek employment abroad despite immense difficulties," Palabay said.
Karapatan added there has been a lot of violations of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and International Convention on the Right of All Migrant Workers and their Families in Veloso's case:
- The right to appear in court with qualified translators in the State of employment
- Legal representation at all stages of the judicial process
- Consular support of State of origin for foreign national defendants through the judicial process
- Inconsistencies in sentences for similar cases; and
- The application of the death penalty in drug-related cases
Meanwhile, Migrante appealed to Filipinos and the international community to support the campaign to save Veloso from the death row. (READ: 3 ways to help #MaryJane from Indonesian death row) – Rappler.com