Hundreds of cyclists demand passage and implementation of human rights laws
More than a thousand participants of the Amnesty International Philippines’ Bike for Rights PadyaKarapatan 2013 cycled through 7 cities of Metro Manila reminding the Aquino administration and the 16th Congress of their obligation to enact and implement legislation necessary for protecting human rights of Filipino citizens.
The 78-kilometer Bike for Rights which is now on its 19th year carried the theme ‘Sampung Tanong ng Bayan sa Pamahalaang Aquino at Kongreso’ reiterating the 10 Point Human Rights Legislative Agenda of Amnesty International Philippines and its previous calls and demands upon the Aquino government.
“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.
The 10 questions highlighted, among others, the need for Congressional oversight in the implementation of the Anti-Torture Law, ratification of the International Convention on Enforced disappearances, amendment of the Witness Protection Program, review of the Cybercrime Prevention Act and repeal of discriminatory laws against women, gender and ethnic minorities, as well as the strengthening of the Commission on Human Rights through the adoption of its Charter.
Amnesty International recognizes that many good laws for the protection of human rights were enacted in recent years. Yet the organization is deeply concerned on the continuing crimes and abuses as well as the failure of the Philippine criminal justice system to ensure that justice is served fairly and without delay to victims of human rights violations. Impunity exists, perpetrators of crimes and human rights abuses are not prosecuted and justice is not served to the victims and their families.
“Our laws penalize killings, torture and other human rights violations, however, the killings continue, torture continues, and enforced disappearances remain realities in our country. Three journalists were killed during the past of two weeks. Perpetrators of these killings and abuses get away with their crimes. The good laws do not positively impact on people’s lives,” added Dr. Parong.
Three journalists were killed in the last two weeks – Rogelio Butalid was shot dead in Tagum City on Wednesday while Michael Milo of Tandag City and Jash Dignos of Valencia City was killed on 29 November according to news sources.
Amnesty International reminds the Philippine government to work towards better governance, at the national, provincial and municipal levels, by combating impunity within their jurisdiction. The criminal justice system must be made to work effectively towards penalizing perpetrators of abuses to end impunity and prevent extra judicial killings, unlawful arrests, secret detention, enforced disappearances, torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.
“Amnesty International Philippines calls on the Aquino government to take immediate steps to diligently implement pro-human rights laws and enhance our system of laws by acting on the10 points human rights agenda within the 16th Congress.” concluded the Director.
The Bike for Rights: PadyaKarapatan 2013 culminates Amnesty International Philippines’ celebration the 65th year of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The cycling event started in Quezon City traversing though Marikina, Pasig, Mandaluyong, Makati, Pasay, Manila and back to the Quezon City Memorial Circle.
The complete Amnesty International’s Legislative Agenda to the 16th Congress can be downloaded here: bit.ly/legagenda16th
Amnesty International Philippines
15 December 2013
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