[Blog] Yes, it is good to be online. But we can still do it better offline -HRonlinePH.com


[Blog] Yes, it is good to be online. But we can still do it better offline -HRonlinePH.com.

Only real-life action is the only way to achieve a genuine social transformation. Clicking a link can never replace our voice in the streets. Nor can we rely on social media alone to get people off their screens.

Yes, it is good to be online. But we can still do it better offline.
To inform, to inspire and to mobilize people for change virtually can never outdo the way we do it in an interfaced and personal way.

We are human beings after all with all the potentials to change and to change the world.

Read full article at http://hronlineph.com/2014/12/29/blog-yes-it-is-good-to-be-online-but-we-can-still-do-it-better-offline-hronlineph-com/

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[Reflection] MAKING HUMAN RIGHTS MORE THAN A VIRTUAL REALITY By Darwin Mendiola


Five days ago, we commemorated the International Human Rights Day. By just remembering the day was a reason enough to celebrate, but it also gave us something to think about.
In recent years, we have all witnessed  the transforming power of the internet in advancing human rights issues. It does not only become an avenue for freedom of expression and opinion. But it also provides a space for ordinary people to speak up and claim for their rights.
 
It gives the workers a place to show their plight from the brunt of unfair labor practices and job insecurity here and abroad. It gives a voice to the cry of farmers for genuine agrarian reforms. It exposes the detrimental ecological effect of mining on land and water resources and its induced massive displacement of farming communities.  It affords the women’s right of choice and access to reproductive health. It provides attention to the right for sexual orientation and gender identity against any forms of discrimination. It makes us more aware of the rights of children even those who are in conflict with the law. It condemns at the highest level the act of torture, enforced disappearance and extrajudicial killings. It reproves inhumane and violent demolition of informal settlers. It provides a forum to demand for a guarantee of standard of living with adequate social services free from corporate greed.
 
HRONLINEPH.com was born out of this necessity.
 
While internet rights are already considered basic human rights and fundamental freedoms, yet they are increasingly at risk. Not only for the fact that people anywhere and everywhere who speak up against any forms of abuses, injustices and violence are often placed in danger.  Access to internet in some part of the globe remains censored or banned. Even in democratic countries like the Philippines, there are already attempts to infringe the right to privacy in communications that consequently threaten the enjoyment of the right to freedom of expression and opinion. The recent ruling of the Philippine Supreme Court upholding the decision to prevent two students of St. Theresa’s College in Cebu from graduating because of the sexy photos posted in their facebook account, creates that chilling effect.
 
While we do recognize that with every right, there is a corresponding responsibility, Though freedom requires self regulation, we must intelligently use the internet and technology to continuously inform, inspire and mobilize people to effect real change.
 
We must bear in mind that human rights are our birth right. The rights we have offline are the same rights we must have online.
 
Let us all work together to make human rights a reality.
internet right
Photo courtesy of www.slideshare.net

[Document] Bangsamoro Basic Law


The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) has made public the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law, which President Benigno Aquino III personally submitted to Philippine Congress.

The Bangsamoro Basic Law will abolishes the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and will establish the new Bangsamoro political identity in its place. The law is based on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro signed by the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in March 2014.

You can download the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law here.

BBL HB04994

BBL2 BBL

Courtesy of www.hatawtabloid.com

[Reflection] Pagpupugay at Pasasalamat sa mga Bayani at Martir ng Batas Militar: A Review


Heroes are made not born.

They are those who let no obstacle prevent them from pursuing the values they have chosen. Some simply happened to find themselves at a crossroads, confronted with the turbulent events of their time but chose to take a path less traveled and even offering their own lives.

One needs not to be extraordinary to do heroic deed. Any Juan dela Cruz, Maria or Jose – workers, farmers, fisherfolks, students, professionals, church people, informal settlers or street hawkers can make a big difference.

But there are many of them who remain anonymous until now. They are the NAMELESS —whose deeds are not known to many. Remembering them may not be enough. But reliving their legacies in us is one way to honor them.

And this is what the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines together with the NAMELESS HEROES AND MARTYRS, INC. and the DAKILA Collectives admirably did when they paid tribute to the HEROES and MARTYRS of MARTIAL LAW on September 30, 2014 at the Aldaba Recital Hall, University of the Philippines-Diliman.

The event brought together Martial Law heroes and the new generation of human rights defenders to commemorate the 42nd Anniversary of the Declaration of Martial Law through a matinee of songs, dances and theatrical play under the brilliant direction of UP Prof. Apolonio Chua.

The songs of protest like Batingaw, Sangandaan, Patak ng Ulan at Huling Awit were once again resonated on the stage by Color It Red vocalist Cooky Chua and the progressive labour theater group, Teatro Pabrika to awaken in the audience the Filipino spirit of patriotism.

May Tibak At May Tibak and Buhay Na Inalay Sa Bayan from LEAN: The Musical which run deep into our Filipino consciousness and stir intense emotions of sensitivities were given new life through the creative dance performances of the Collective Arts of Students and Thespians (CAST) from University of Makati by efficaciously translating the sufferings and struggle of the Filipino people under Martial law into series of movement and dramatic expression.

But what makes the event different from the previous commemorations is that it set the stage for the Reader’s theatre where excerpts from selected literatures were read by character roles with no needs for costumes and props for the audience to relive the social upheavals of that time that gave rise to popular discontent and resistance.

Tutubi, Tutubi ‘Wag Kang Magpahuli sa Mamang Salbahe’ (Dragonfly, Dragonfly, Don’t Allow Yourself to Get Caught by a Bad Guy) by Palanca awardee Jun Cruz Reyes, gives a satirical account of the irrationality of the power structure and how a high school student’s curiosity has turned into a conviction of joining the underground movement.

The “Written to Myself During a Fit of Depression” by former political prisoner, Doris Baffrey, a letter she wrote for herself relating her traumatic experiences while languishing in jail for almost five years which left a thick scar or welt on her very existence in the same way that many survivors of martial-law were plagued by intense, recurring nightmares. Ms. Baffrey was implicated in the PICC bombing during the American Society of Travel Agents Convention in 1980.

A more vivid account of torture was best described in the poem, ‘TORTYUR- Sa mga Kuko ng Karimlan’ written by another Palanca awardee and political activist, Levy Balgos dela Cruz which shows how torture is being used as a form of punishment until it breaks the person’s will to live.

The agony of a wife who has to pretend as a cousin of her husband in order to claim his remains after he was summarily executed by the military is given a human face and heart in the play, ‘Buwan at Baril’ by Chris Millado.

The family memoir, ‘Subversive Lives’ by the Quimpos reminds us of the personal costs at best illuminates an on-going struggle mediated by familial experiences and the sacrifices of those who joined the movement.

We owe it to those who stood and fought against the dictator in order for freedom and democracy to live. Their sacrifices and love for country are the reasons why the “selfie” generation today have the freedom to click and post whatever they want in social media. But lest we forget that the responsibility to make the country freer, humane and just now rests on our shoulders.

Salute to the Unsung Heroes of Martial Law!
Kudos to the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines!
Never Again to Martial Law!

Pagpupugay sa mga Bayani ng Martial Law

[Video] Lest We Forget: Victims of Martial Law – youtube


Lest We Forget: 

Martial Law and its victims

ON THE 63rd anniversary of the declaration of December 10 as International Human Rights Day, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism releases a 13-minute video in memory and in honor of those who fought for democracy and freedom during the dark uncertain days of Martial Law.

The video is a compilation of the stories of six human rights victims or their families, all of them part of the 10,000 human rights victims who were recently awarded $1,000 each as part of a settlement against the estate of the former dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

More than the story of anguish and terror and tragedy, these are stories of ordinary men and women who lived extraordinary lives. Too, these are stories of wives who became widows, and children who became orphans. Most of all, these are stories that the victims could only wish they could forget, even as they hope we all will remember and learn.

Interviews conducted by Malou Mangahas; camerawork by Winona Cueva. Editing by PCIJ interns Florenz Sison and Darlene Basingan; score by Florenz Sison.

Courtesy of http://pcij.org.

[In the Web] Rights victims turn to media for remedy, says Asia watchdog


Filipino women activists stage a play to symbolize human rights violations. Photo from http://cryptome.org.

THE failure of the Philippine government to protect its people from human rights violations has forced its citizens to seek “remedy by publicity,” according to an Asian human rights watchdog.

In a 25-page report on the Philippines, submitted in time for the International Human Rights Day on Saturday, the Asian Human Rights Commission said, “Due to absence of effective remedy in the criminal justice system, there has been an ongoing practice of victims, their families and those who supports them, to obtain some sort of remedy by way of publicity, not in the trial process.”

This means filing complaints against soldiers and policemen accused of violations is not enough for complainants, they also have to call the attention of supporters from within and outside the country to pressure the government into action.

That’s why witnesses or complainants at risk prefer to tell their stories to journalists rather than to the police. “Victims who are illegally detained, tortured and falsely charged would rather employ public pressure for their release than take legal action,” the Hong-Kong based human rights watchdog said in a statement.

“The widespread arbitrariness and disregard to elementary due process and legality that protects the rights is lacking if not completely absent. There must be a substantive discourse on the irreparable impact of how the flawed country’s system of justice operates to this day.”

Monsignor Clemente Ignacio, rector of the Quiapo Church in Manila, said the government must strengthen structures to protect the rights of the victims and those filing charges.

“We are saddened that in our beloved homeland, we continue to hear and witness violations of the rights of our brothers and sisters,” he said in an interview Saturday. “We could do a lot, if only all our branches in government could work together to uphold the rights of the citizens.”

Please read full article at http://www.cathnewsphil.com/2011/12/13/rights-victims-turn-to-media-for-remedy-rights-watchdog/

 

 

[Statement] AFAD Statement on International Human Rights Day


10 December 2011

 

Impunity for Enforced Disappearance Must End NOW!

Today, as the world commemorates the 63rd International Human Rights Day, the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances or (AFAD) calls on all governments particularly those in the Asian region to stop enforced disappearance and to end impunity.

Enforced disappearance is considered one of the cruelest human rights transgression. It is a multiple and continuous violation of the basic human rights not only of the direct victims but also of their families and the greater society. It inflicts untold sufferings to the victims who are forcibly taken by agents of the States and denied access to legal safeguards by removing them from the protection of the law. It causes ill-effects to the victims’ families, not knowing the fate and whereabouts of their loved ones. Mothers, wives, and daughters are usually left without any means to tend their families. In South Asian context, wives of the disappeared are called “half-widows’ who are stripped of legal status to obtain pensions and other means of support.  Children of the disappeared equally suffer. They are deprived of a normal family and a good future. No doubt, enforced disappearance sows fear and terror in society.

Many governments employ this atrocious practice as a tool of state repression and political witch-hunt. It is a major human rights concern of more than 80 countries based on the 2010 report of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, a thematic UN body created in 1980 to monitor the incidences of enforced disappearances worldwide. Many cases occur in Asian countries, the continent that submitted the highest number of cases.

The Asian region lacks a strong mechanism for redress.  There are no available domestic laws penalizing disappearance as a separate and autonomous criminal offense. Not only are cases of enforced or involuntary disappearances difficult to investigate and prosecute. They recur with each passing day in many Asian countries. Perpetrators can easily walk away from criminal accountability.

Efforts by several governments along with families of the disappeared and international human rights organizations have made possible the adoption of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance in 2006 by the United Nations General Assembly and its consequent entry into force on 23 December 2010. To date, this international human rights instrument has 90 signatories and 30 States Parties.

It is but imperative for all states to accede to the international treaty against enforced disappearances without reservation and immediately adopt effective national laws to abolish this horrendous practice.

While these legal measures and mechanisms may not bring back the disappeared, they can certainly help in finding truth and justice and in preventing cases from happening again. It only takes one small step to have a leap of change.

Ending impunity should both be a demand and a call for unity and action.

For the disappeared and their families, the 63rd anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights will have deeper meaning through governments’ accession to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and the enactment of laws criminalizing disappearances and their full implementation.

 

Signed by:

MUGIYANTO
Chairperson
MARY AILEEN DIEZ- BACALSO
Secretary-General