Editorial: Struggle for respect of human rights


Today, December 10, is the International Human Rights Day (IHRD). This is the day that the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in 1948 adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and ever since has been commemorated annually by countries the world over.

IHRD is commemorated to remind the States or governments that there is such a thing as human rights that the State, being the embodiment of the people, should recognize, promote, uphold and defend. The UN has established offices like the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) to monitor the human rights situation and erring member States that have violated or have not recognized these human rights have not only been strongly criticized but have also faced sanctions.

Recently, the Philippines has been the center of concern by the UN and international human rights groups like Amnesty International because of the growing human rights violations (HRV): in President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s (PRRD) war on drugs and his policy to silence the opposition – from those in the Senate to the professionals and to the poorest worker or farmer critical of PRRD’s policies. These HRVs are expected to intensify now that PRRD has declared to end the Peace Talks with the National Democratic Front and ordered a crackdown on the Left and even including the legal left organizations.

IHRD is being commemorated to remind the people that these rights were not “given on a silver platter” but is a product of centuries of struggle by the exploited and oppressed masses. It took a French Revolution for civil liberties to be recognized. The current 8-hour work is a product of decades of protest by the workers. Women, until now, are still struggling for the respect of their rights to equal employment and equal pay, right to quality health care, etc. Even the right to suffrage which started as a white male privilege. It was only through the protest and assertion of “colored” people as well as the women that there is the present “democratic” exercise to choose as a people. The recognition of our present day rights is a product of hard struggle and sacrifice since the time of forefathers.

Presently, contradictions have intensified between the ruling class as represented by PRRD and the exploited masses of farmers, workers and professionals. Yet PRRD shows no sign of backing down from his anti-people policies like the imposed phaseout of jeepneys, the war on drugs, depriving many of their right to life and due process. etc. And the people are growing tired of PRRD’s antics and start to verbalize their opposition. And true to fascist tendencies, the PRRD dispensation has consistently resorted to violence to silence opposition like what transpired on December 3 and 4 where suspected state security agents gun down 10 civilian activists (1 priest from north Luzon, 1 pastor from south Luzon and 8 Lumads from Mindanao).

PRRD may think history is on his side and overthrowing a dictator may take 3 decades or more, but the world over, history has proven more than once that a people united can never be defeated. The simple end result is the collective effort of exploited masses triumphs. # nordis.net


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