MANILA, Philippines – Artworks and products made by political prisoners were exhibited on Saturday, June 15, during the relaunching of rights group Kapatid.
The event, held at the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), showcased works including sculptures and cross-stitches, among others. The works are also a means to gain financial aid for their legal fight.
The artworks, according to Kapatid, reflect the vigor and struggles of the detained activists and human rights defenders. (READ: Powering through a crisis: Defending human rights under Duterte)
According to rights group Karapatan, there are at least 500 political prisoners in the Philippines.
Kapatid is urging the government to immediately release political prisoners.
"[The number of political prisoners] is on the rise as police operatives have settled on a trend of filing trumped-up cases of illegal possession of firearms and explosives, which are the easiest to fabricate," the group said.
Kapatid was first established in 1978 as a response to repressive government policies under the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
Its relaunch in 2019 focuses on calling for the release of political prisoners, promotion of basic human rights, building support avenues, and seeking to reform laws that are not aligned with human rights-based governance.
Justin Francia is a Rappler intern. She is a graduating political science student at the University of the Philippines Manila.