“We mourn and we rage the death of another political prisoner’s baby only four months after the tragic death of Baby River. Ang mga inosente at walang muwang na sanggol ay walang awang nagiging biktima ng mga polisiya at patakaran ng gobyernong Duterte na hindi kumikilala sa karapatang pantao. Hangga’t nananatili ang talamak na red-tagging, iligal na pag-aresto at pagkulong at lantarang pag-target sa mga aktibista at kritiko ng gobyerno, hindi ligtas ang mga bata at mga ina sa ating bansa,” Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women national chairperson Zenaida Soriano said.

Baby Carlen, the daughter of detained peasant and rights activist Nona Espinosa died last February 14 due to an infection in the lungs and blood after being hospitalized for a few days because of low hemoglobin count. Espinosa gave birth to her baby daughter on the first week of January via cesarean delivery. 

Baby Carlen who was born with a cleft palate was separated from her mother three days after birth. Her mother was brought back to Guihulngan City Police Station Jail while Baby Carlen was given to her mother’s family. 

Espinosa and her husband Adidas Acero were arrested on September 20, 2020, along with seven other peasant activists on the basis of trumped-up cases in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental. 

“Dapat imbestigahan ang nangyari at panagutin ang lahat ng sangkot sa pagkamatay ni Baby Carlen. Hindi na dapat maulit pa ang nangyari sa mga mag-inang Ina at Baby River at Nona at Baby Carlen. The government should be reminded that women, even prisoners, have the right to proper pre and post natal care and uphold its commitment to the Bangkok Rules,” Soriano said.

“No amount of words could console a mother’s grief who lost a child. We urge the public to stand with Baby Carlen’s family in seeking justice. We must hold the Duterte government accountable for all its human rights abuses against land and human rights defenders. If these remain unopposed, the whole country would be under the tyranny of Duterte and the freedoms of our children and next generation Filipinos would be threatened,” Soriano ended. ###

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