Thursday, December 10, 2009

December 10 Is World Human Rights Day! Heralding Arroyo's Human Rights Record

Today marks the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) adopted on December 10, 1948 that set down the basic principles at the very heart of the human rights movement. The UDHR has enabled remarkable progress in human rights, inspiring international human rights standards, laws and institutions that have improved the lives of many around the world.

The day is a high point in the calendar of United Nations and is normally marked by both high-level political conferences and meetings and by cultural events and exhibitions dealing with human rights issues. Many non-profit organizations and human rights activists also schedule special events to commemorate the day. Look out for events in your community!

It is the objective of this celebration to rally people to stand up with other people all over the world who want to make human rights a reality for everyone.

With the massacre of 57 people in Maguindanao just 17 days ago in Southern Philippines, one is hard put to believe that championing human rights ideals in the Philippines under the Arroyo administration will ever bear fruit. 

Consider these hard facts:  a total of 2,461 cases of human rights violation cases have been documented from January 2001, when President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo assumed power, to November this year.  One person, it says, is killed every three days under the Macapagal-Arroyo government or a total of 271 persons.Meanwhile, 58 others have either been victims of enforced disappearance or abduction. At least 1,070 persons have been unjustly arrested.The most striking in this record is how human rights defenders, which include human rights activists, journalists and militant leaders, are themselves being victimized.   

Described as the worst form of human rights violation, the number of involuntary disappearance and abduction cases has alarmingly increased, with a total of 43 cases recorded under the Macapagal-Arroyo presidency, involving 58 individuals.

The culture of impunity under the Arroyo administration started since year one of her administration and continues unabated up to this day. It will be truly ironical for Arroyo to commemorate the 54th year of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights because she would do so with without the sentiment or passion to protect the people - worst, she would do so with blood in her hands.

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