CHR urges Filipinos: Celebrate, defend human rights every day
MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has called on Filipinos to celebrate and defend human rights every day, and not only on the commemoration of the International Human Rights Day.
“We must remember that human rights should not only be celebrated every 10th of December. We need to defend and celebrate human rights every single day as they are the products of people’s lives and continuing struggles,” CHR Spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia said in a statement on Tuesday.
Aside from this, De Guia noted that acknowledging the struggles in attaining human rights is important especially in the current political climate.
“As we come to another year of this global observance, the Commission strongly calls for greater state accountability for all human rights violations in the Philippines and to end impunity that further aggravates the suffering of our people,” she explained.
“Extrajudicial killings remain to be the biggest attack to human rights in the country as death toll continues to rise with the government’s anti-people policies. Killing of journalists, activists, farmers and other human rights defenders, has become more rampant as the existing political environment is hostile to any form of dissent,” she added.
The International Human Rights Day is celebrated every December 10, on the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). This year’s theme — Youth Standing Up for Human Rights — is an effort to engage young people into discussing human rights.
“Under the Commission’s continuing call for the promotion and respect for human rights and its primacy, we endeavour to show our support and encouragement to the Filipino youth — as an increasing number of them continue to stand up for their rights against violence, injustice and repressive state policies,” she said.
“Youth participation in nation-building, therefore, is essential to ensure a vibrant and healthy democracy. Empowering the youth to better know their rights while teaching them the lessons of the past will lead to a better tomorrow where everyone’s rights are respected,” she added.
In the Philippines, human rights has become an issue as President Rodrigo Duterte has been criticized for allegedly disregarding human rights. Opposition groups said that the President’s human rights record is dismal, as reports about alleged extrajudicial killings, arrest of political prisoners, and attacks against dissenters have come out.
Duterte had previously slammed human rights workers and the CHR for supposedly contradicting and hindering his state policies, even calling the United Nations Human Rights Council members “fools” for allowing an international probe on the country.
The administration maintained that no abuses have been done in the conduct of their programs.
In the face of these growing concerns, De Guia has urged people to continue fighting against abuses and to assert people’s rights against various forms of attack.
“Now, more than ever, we must come together as a nation and build the broadest coalition of human rights defenders for freedom and dignity of all, and continue to push back as we reaffirm our commitment to fight for people’s rights and against all forms of attacks against the Filipino people,” she noted.
Edited by JE
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