Act urgently and come together to defend human rights — De Lima
MANILA, Philippines — As the world celebrates the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) this Monday, jailed Senator Leila De Lima called on the public to come together and “act urgently” to defend human rights.
De Lima said the UDHR was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly as “a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to be promoted by education, and, more optimistically, by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance.”
Since its adoption, she said, the UDHR has been a “bedrock of freedom and equality all across the world”
But De Lima said the work that the UDHR has set out is still far from over.
“And, it will never be over as the world now faces an almost endless barrage of attacks on human dignity and freedom,” she said.
The senator noted that millions of people “do not stay free and equal as their rights have been trampled upon on a regular basis.”
This was evident, she said, in various conflict-stricken places like Syria, Yemen, Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, and a number of countries in Central America.
De Lima also cited the “growing absence of human rights leadership in the world today.”
“There are dissension and discord in major liberal democracies. Some governments themselves, led mostly by populist demagogues and autocrats, have actually attacked their own people,” she said.
“And, far too many politicians and so-called leaders – including those in my country, the Philippines – seem to have forgotten the UDHR,” she further said.
Despite this, the senator noted that “causes for continued optimism remain.”
“Still intact are the admirable legacy of the UDHR, the endurance of some relevant conventions, treaties and international law, and the resilience of a vibrant global human rights movement. Hope springs eternal for human rights.”
She called on the people to come together “in our common defense of human rights.”
“We cannot remain quiet and rely passively on governments. We the people ourselves have to act – act urgently and in solidarity with one another,” said De Lima, who has been detained over drug charges. /je
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