An international network of health organisations, and individual professionals, researchers, medical students and health activists have written to the World Health Organisation, requesting it to support the cause of release of Binayak Sen.
Fourteen health organisations and 178 individual health workers have endorsed the letter written to WHO Director-General Margaret Chan and WHO Executive Secretary of the Stop TB partnership, Lucica Ditiu on the occasion of the World Tuberculosis Day on March 24.
The letter throws light on Dr. Sen's efforts to control TB in the tribal communities. It states that the reason to talk about Dr. Sen is because this year's focus is on individuals around the world who have found new ways to stop TB and can inspire others.
“We hope that you will take time to consider Dr. Sen's life-long good work and commitment in the field of health, in particular his effort to control tuberculosis in marginalised communities, and wish to draw your attention to his continued, unfair and vengeful incarceration by the State of Chhattisgarh, India,” the letter states.
It talks about Dr. Sen's struggle to make the State “examine and redress the social determinants of poor health and huge burden of malnutrition that contributes to and co-exists with the significant burden of TB amongst the marginalised tribal communities.”
“Dr. Sen has and would have continued to contribute tremendously through public health policy formulation and advocacy at the State-level and the education and training of health activists and through his own practice to the effective control of tuberculosis in India. But Dr. Sen is now in prison on false charges, sentenced for life. India urgently needs him to be free.” The health workers and organisations from various parts of the world including Canada, United States of America, Nepal, Pakistan, Australia, United Kingdom, have come together to demand Dr. Sen's release.
The letter states that the network's objectives are “to secure the release of Dr. Sen so that he can carry out the good work in the field of health, and to affirm and promote the cause of health and human rights of the marginalised in society.”
It says that the group wanted to work towards ensuring justice and equality in developmental efforts.
The letter has demanded that the Indian government immediately intervene and release Dr. Sen, and carry out a public inquiry into the circumstances of his arrest and the basis of his conviction.