Statement on the Conviction of Sally Ujano
by Dr Walden Bello, Amnesty International Philippines’ Most Distinguished Defender of Human Rights Awardee

The conviction of internationally renowned child and women’s rights advocate Sally Ujano by Taguig RTC Branch 266 is an affront to justice.

After she was arrested by plainclothes officers in 2021 for a crime allegedly committed in 2006, state forces have accused her of being in hiding for 15 years. That they claimed this while Sally Ujano was widely participating in civil society, including in crucial roles fighting for the rights of women and children, including in close engagement with elements of the Philippine National Police and other government agencies, is at the very least gross incompetence. More likely, it shows in full view the stubborn anti-activist fascistic tendencies of elements of the legal institutions meant to protect us, even in the face of obvious fact.

I join other organizations and individuals calling for Sally Ujano’s immediate release. These organizations include Child Rights Coalition Asia, Child Rights Network Philippines, Salinlahi Alliance for Chlidren’s Concerns, and more. They attest to her important work done against child trafficking, child prostitution, violence against women, and more.

Sally Ujano, who is 66, is in ailing health. As Bulatlat reports, her doctor testified Sally as suffering from hypertension, hypertensive heart disease, dyslipidemia, among others as early as 2022. Every additional hour that she is in custody weighs heavily on the conscience of our supposedly just society.