HUMAN RIGHTS WEEK 2013 AND BEYOND
With the theme, “Sa kulang-kulang na pamamahala, TAO ang kawawa. Dapat Tao Muna,” the right of the people to government’s response in tragedies, climate change and all human rights was the focus of the campaign by human rights groups and activists in the Philippines that commemorated the Human Rights Week for more than one week.
Here are 10 of the events that I was aware of that groups and individuals conducted in contribution of the 65th year commemoration of the UDHR and/or in the promotion of human rights.
- NOVEMBER 23 –JUSTICE FOR VICTIMS OF AMPATUAN MASSACRE
Four years have passed since 58 people were murdered in the deadliest attacked made against media called the “Ampatuan Massacre” on a hilltop in Sitio Masalay, Barangay Salman, Ampatuan, Maguindanao. Four years, and still justice remains illusive at nagiging pahabaan ng pisi ata ang laban.
“Four years after the Ampatuan massacre, it is all too clear that the only way we will ever find justice and the freedom to fully enjoy our rights is to lay claim to them, to seize them and, once we have them, to nurture them and jealously guard them against all those who would keep them from us.”-NUJP
Also worldwide, the International Day to End Impunity (IDEI) is commemorated annually on November 23 by advocates for free expression. IFEX (the global network defending and promoting free expression) declared the day as the International Day to End Impunity in 2011. It is a day dedicated to a call to action to demand justice for those who have been targeted for exercising their right to freedom of expression, and to shed light on the issue of impunity.
They chose November 23 because it marks the day of the Ampatuan Massacre.
Media groups and people’s organizations held protest action in Mendiola on the night of November 23 and called on PNoy to make good of his campaign promise that the case would be resolved before the end of his term, and that the government would grant financial assistance to the families of the victims.
“The media group slammed Coloma for making the claim “considering that nothing has yet been accomplished in terms of hastening the pace of the massacre trial and the fresh killings of members of the media in the first 3 years of the Aquino administration.”
According to Alan Ace-Aclan, spokesperson for the group, “with injustice still rife and the murder of journalists and other critics of the government is still being reported on the fourth year of the massacre and 3 years after President Aquino was elected, it is crystal clear that the culture of impunity is still very much alive.”
photos by Rappler/LeAnne Jazul
- NOVEMBER 25 -16 DAYS OF ACTIVISM AGAINST GENDER VIOLENCE
An international campaign originated from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute sponsored by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991.
In the Philippines, From 25 Nov to 10 Dec, Take Back The Tech! Philippines posted videos of advocates declaring their commitments to end VAW.
See videos @https://www.facebook.com/takebackthetechPH
Take Back the Tech Philippines is a collaborative campaign to reclaim information and communication technologies (ICT) to end violence against women (VAW) in the Philippines, and around the world..
- NOVEMBER 30 – BONIFACIO @150
Some 5,000 strong contingent of the broad labor coalition NAGKAISA marched to Mendiola to celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of the plebeian hero Andres Bonifacio.
Under the theme “Kalayaan Mula sa Pulitikong Kawatan, Delubyong Kahirapan, Trahedyang mula sa Kalikasan,” they called on PNoy to urgently address corruption, poverty and climate crisis.
The group also demanded that Gat Andes Bonifacio be declared as the first president of the Philippine republic.
- NOVEMBER 30 –BAYANIHAN REPUBLIC
Cyclists, artists and volunteers gathered together as one on November 30, 2013 as they took part in Bayanihan Republic, a fundraising festival for continued relief operations, psychosocial support, and on-ground initiatives to rebuild communities in areas affected by Typhoon Yolanda.
Bayanihan Republic was an initiative of Dakila in partnership with Jam 88.3, with the support of The Asia Foundation and the Fully Abled Nation and in cooperation with the Quezon City Memorial Circle.
- DECEMBER 2- 3RD HR PINDUTEROS CHOICE AWARDS NIGHT
For the third time since 2011, Human Rights Online Philippines or HRonlinePH.com gave recognition to human rights defenders’ efforts to promote, assert and defend human rights by maximizing online platforms. The event celebrated the assertion for freedom of expression and opinion online and offline with the theme “Internet Freedom… our rights, our choice, our voice.”
|Project Byline: Rights All- You-Can campaign||UPCJ||HR Campaign|
|PR: Teachers ask DEPED to expedite the release of bonus||TDC||HR Network’s Post|
|[Appeal] An Open Letter to Pond’s and All Whitening Products||Renee Juliene M. Karunungan||HR Pindutero’s Post|
|WE ARE NATURE rodgalicha.com||Rodney Galicha||HR Blogsite|
|Love is…Freedom from Violence!||World March of Women – Pilipinas||HR Event|
|Rated PG at PETA Arts Zone: “Love Does Not Hurt” campaign launch||Dakila and PETA Arts Zone||HR Photo|
|March 8, 2013 International Women’s Day||World March of Women – Pilipinas||HR Video|
|Dissidente!||Jose Mario De Vega||HR Off the shelf/Resources|
|Hey Coke! RESPECT workers’ rights! FB page||APL||HR featured site|
|MD4HR.net||MAG||HR featured site|
- DECEMBER 6 –CSO NATIONAL CONSULTATION ON AICHR TOR
Civil Society National Consultation on the review of the ASEAN Inter-Governmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) Terms of Reference (ToR) was held on December 6, 2013. at Sequoia Hotel in Quezon City.
The AICHR was established in 2009 and since then CSOs in the region have been trying to engage and advocate for its independence from States and assert relevant space for Civil Society participation for its effective performance as a Regional Human Rights Mechanism. The AICHR’s continuous denial of CSOs participation may be rooted in the limited mandate that is provided in its ToR, which has vague explanation on the role of CSOs in the work of the AICHR.
The ToR, as stated in it, is set for review in 2014 which will be five years after its entry into force. This may be seen as an opportunity for CSOs to propose and assert improvements for strengthening AICHR as a regional human rights body.
Organized by FORUM-ASIA, Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) and Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), the consultation was attended by Regional and national Civil Society organizations working on different human rights issues and themes.
- DECEMBER 7 –POLITICAL PRISONERS DAY
Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) and Balay Rehabilitation Center together with the Medical Action Group (MAG) and other groups held the annual political prisoners’ day on December 7, 2013 in the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa.
- DECEMBER 10 -LIGHTUP4 YOLANDA VICTIMS, LIGHTUP4 RIGHTS
In commemoration of the December 10 International Human Rights Day of 2013, human rights groups held nationwide solidarity candle lighting in several parts of the country, for victims of typhoon Yolanda and other natural disasters and victims of human rights violations.
“We devote today’s commemoration of International Human Rights Day for all those who suffered and continue to suffer the result of climate change and environmental destruction caused by greed, development aggression and government neglect,” said Emmanuel Amistad, Executive Director of the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP).
While the group extended their heartfelt solidarity to all victims, they also called on government leaders to prioritize the needs of the victims and refrain from politicking.
“We Light UP for Yolanda Victims, we Light Up for Human Rights, dahil higit sa lahat ay dapat unahin ng pamahalaan ang kapakanan ng mga taong nasalanta kaysa pagpapabida. Dapat matauhan na ang mga kurap na pulitiko at tigilan na ang pamumulsa ng pondo ng bayan at ilaan sa dapat nitong puntahan. Dahil dapat Tao muna! Hindi tubo at kita, dahil dapat tao muna hindi pamumulitika at pabida,” Amistad added.
“Although our fellow Filipinos in disaster stricken areas, especially in Leyte needs all the help, relief and support we can provide, it will not be enough to solve the problems. Other future disasters will come and if the government will not be serious and sincere in performing its duty to protect its people instead of profit and corruption, all these will just be repeated,” Amistad said.
In Visayas, members of TFDP and its allies from the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) held their “Light UP 4 Yolanda Victims, Light UP 4 Rights,” at the University of the Philippines Cebu. “We light candles in solidarity for all victims of climate disaster, mining and other profit driven development projects that does not benefit the people, instead harm them and lead to violations of their human rights.”
In Mindanao, human rights defenders, TFDP, PMCJ and Freedom from Debt Coalition together with other social and climate activists led the candle lighting activities in Centennial Park, San Pedro Street, Davao City. Candle lighting activities at Bukidnon, Surigao Del Sur and Iligan were also held simultaneously.
According to the group they are also dedicated the solidarity candle lighting for victims of Zamboanga siege, Bohol and Cebu Earthquake, and other natural and manmade disasters that devastated our peoples and communities. Saying, “We hope we can help inspire them to stand up and we are with them in struggling to regain what has been damaged and lost from them.”
Youth and students in several universities also gave their solidarity LightUP activity. Students from De La Salle College of Saint Benilde participated in the Quezon City Memorial Circle LightUP activity. Members of Youth for Rights (Y4R) and Teatro Kahimanawari of Marikina Polytechnic University held their candle lighting in front of Marikina City Hall Freedom Park. Others participated in the online solidarity in the social networking site Facebook.
In Quezon City, more than 300 members of the Philipppine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), Amnesty International – Philippines and Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), held the LightUP for Yolanda Victims, LightUP4 Rights activity at the fountain area in Quezon City Memorial Circle.
The group lamented that “Sa kulang-kulang na pamamahala, Tao ang kawawa.” The group also reminded PNoy of his obligation to issue a National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP) in compliance with the recommendation of the Universal Periodic Review of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
- DECEMBER 14 -1ST PHBS HEALTH BLOGGERS MEET AND LAUNCHING OF HEALTHACTIVIST.PH
The Philippine Health Bloggers Society (PHBS) in cooperation with HealthActivist.ph and @IYCPilipinas held the 1st PHBS Health Bloggers Meet on December 14, 2013 in Quezon City. The event was graced by guest speakers like Ana Santos, Grace Nicolas, and Alvin Dakis (IYC PH Chair).
“Advocacies are not something you will just talk about, you need to walk the talk. Go Offline to become credible and to show your real passion.” – Grace Bondad Nicolas
“To change the way we view sex, we have to change the way we talk about it”- Ana P. Santos
Visit and like https://www.facebook.com/healthactivist.ph
- DECEMBER 15 -PADYAKARAPATAN
More than a thousand participated in the Amnesty International Philippines’ Bike for Rights PadyaKarapatan 2013. They cycled through 7 cities of Metro Manila. The event aimed to remind the Aquino administration and the 16th Congress of their obligation to enact and implement legislation necessary for protecting human rights of Filipino citizens.
“Before the 2010 and 2013 elections, Amnesty International presented its Philippine Human Rights Agenda to the candidates and promises were subsequently made. As the year ends, we ask 10 questions – ‘Sampung Tanong ng Bayan sa Pamahalaang Aquino at Kongreso’ – to remind the Aquino government and the 16th Congress about important human rights agenda which they need to act upon immediately starting 2014,” explained Dr. Aurora A. Parong, Director of Amnesty International Philippines.