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On Human Rights Day, Robredo reminds people: Preventing abuse a continuous work

/ 08:05 PM December 10, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Working towards the protection and enshrinement of human rights is a continuous work, Vice President Leni Robredo said during the commemoration of the International Human Rights Day on Tuesday.

After being asked whether the country has improved its approach towards human rights in the context of the drug war, Robredo said that the mindset should revolve on never being satisfied with the current state of human rights.

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“Kapag usapin ng human rights, dapat hindi tayo nakukuntento,” she said during a special edition of the Istorya ng Pag-asa, where photos of the various faces in the drug war were displayed at the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) office.

“Dapat parati tayong, iyong desire na pag-igihin iyong ginagawa, parating nand’yan.  Parating naghahanap ng mga paraan kung paano mapoproteksyunan iyong ating mga kababayan,” she added.

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(When talking about human rights, we should never be contented.  The desire to improve our body of work should always be there.  We should always look for ways to protect Filipinos.)

Robredo also mentioned that the occasion is a good platform to show the alleged human rights problems facing the administration’s conduct of the war on drugs.  Just weeks ago, she headed the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD).

She was fired by President Rodrigo Duterte after 19 days, as she allegedly talked with foreign organizations that have been rebuked by the government.  While she was ICAD co-chair, Robredo pushed for the integration of community-based rehabilitation programs, the creation of baseline data on the campaign, and the eradication of the police’s Oplan Tokhang.

“Sa usapin ng drug war […] sa usapin ng karapatang pantao, dapat iyong pamahalaan nandiyan para proteksyunan iyong bawat mamamayan,” Robredo explained.

“Doon naman sa nalabag iyong karapatang pantao, dapat iyong pamahalaan din iyong mag-a-assure sa bawat isa na iyong hustisya nandiyan para sa kanila.”

(In terms of the drug war, in discussing human rights, the government should always be there to protect every citizen.  In terms of human rights abuses, the government should also assure that justice will be served.)

The International Human Rights Day is celebrated every December 10, on the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).  For this year, the theme is “Youth Standing Up for Human Rights” — which aims to engage young people into discussing such issues.

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CHR Spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia earlier said that the youth’s participation in talks about human rights is vital to a democratic future.

“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,” De Guia said.

Concerns over the whole human rights situation in the Philippines have been raised especially with reports of abuses in the authorities’ conduct of the drug war.  Duterte has been criticized for allegedly disregarding human rights, threatening human rights defenders who oppose his policies.

According to police data, over 5,500 drug suspects have already died in legitimate anti-drug operations, but groups claim that the true number could be way higher.

They also maintained that the drug war has been used by state actors to harass people with different political beliefs, left-leaning groups, critics, and dissenters.

The administration and the police force have constantly maintained that all operations are regular and no abuses have been done while implementing the law.

READ: Reply to UN by Duterte administration: No rights violations in PH

READ: Duterte calls UNHRC members ‘fools’ for favoring PH rights situation inquiry

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TAGS: Commission on Human Rights, Drug war, ICAD, Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs, International Human Rights Day, Office of the Vice President, OVP, Philippine news updates, Tokhang, Vice President Leni Robredo
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