Quezon City—On 09 December 2019, a day before the celebration of the International Human Rights Day, the Commission on Human Rights hosted a solidarity event convening human rights defenders, activists, and supporters around the country to amplify the call to end the unabated clampdown on human rights workers.
“We thank everyone for joining us in this opportunity to reconnect and to come together as a community in celebrating our shared struggle to defend human rights while we build peaceful movements for change. Despite the threats and attacks, we remain steadfast in our mission to uphold the dignity of every person”, said Chairperson Chito Gascon during his opening remarks.
As a National Human Rights Institution, the CHR stands by its commitment to safeguard human rights defenders as they are a critical force for the protection of human rights and integral to the realisation of sustainable development goals.
The UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders lists several fundamental rights necessary for their work—freedom of association, peaceful assembly, expression and opinion, the right to be protected and the right to effective remedy.
“Human rights workers are operating under difficult times as they become targets of harassment and red-tagging, yet they all keep pushing back to make sure that our people can enjoy their fundamental human rights and can lead lives free from violence and repression”, added Chairperson Gascon.
The Commission strives to promote safe and empowering spaces, such as this gathering, for members of the human rights community to articulate the challenges that threaten their security and impede their work. They must be able to carry out their legitimate activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment. It is therefore particularly important that the protection of the safety of human rights defenders be reaffirmed as a crucial standard.
The CHR urges the Philippine government to stay faithful to its international obligations and to create enabling environment for a meaningful participation of human rights defenders and the public in the development processes.
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