Tag Archives: Human Rights Day 2014

[Statement] Alyansa Tigil Mina Statement for Human Rights Week

Alyansa Tigil Mina Statement for Human Rights Week
December 11, 2014

This week, the world celebrates International Human Rights Day, the day in which in 1948, Philippines and the other nations of the world proclaimed their commitment to human rights, through the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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When international institutions, like the World Bank, finance development activities in Philippines, these activities, whether they’re infrastructure projects or policy reforms, can have a critical impact on human rights. This impact can be positive, such as facilitating greater access to healthcare or education. But it can also be negative, such as when construction projects forcibly evict communities or damage their environment. The impact on human rights depends in large part on what protections are put in place.

The World Bank, the most preeminent public development institution, is currently revising its policies designed to ensure that development activities don’t harm local communities or the environment. As a member country of the World Bank, the Philippine government is being consulted, and will have a say on the final policy.

On October 23, the first consultation was held in the Philippines in Astoria Plaza in Ortigas, Pasig City, and was greeted by a walk-out and a protest of various Civil Society Organizations and Non-government Organizations that were unhappy with the lack of right-upholding provisions in the recent draft safeguard policies.

(Press Release: CSOs reject diluted World Bank safeguards http://alyansatigilmina.net/2014/10/23/press-release-csos-reject-world-bank-safeguards/)

What is Philippines’ national position on human rights and development? Will we support a requirement to identify and manage human rights risks and to ensure that development activities respect, protect, and fulfill human rights? Will we allow the World Bank to weaken its existing standards?

Sixty-six years have passed since we adopted the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. It is time for Philippines to ensure that development activities actually bring real development – by respecting, protecting, and fulfilling human rights.

Note: This statement was sent as a letter to the editors of different publications on December 10, 2014.

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Alyansa Tigil Mina is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations who oppose the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines. The alliance is currently pushing for a moratorium on mining, revocation of EO 270-A, repeal of the Mining Act of 1995, and passage of the AMMB.

For more information:
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator (0927) 761.76.02 nc@alyansatigilmina.net
Check Zabala, ATM Media and Communications Officer (0927)623.50.66 media.comms@alyansatigilmina.net

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Emil, Shine and Ron. Photo by Abdel Disangcopan

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Ika-1 ng Disyembre 2014, sa Conspiracy Bar and Garden Cafe, Quezon City.

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IN COMMEMORATION OF VICTIMS OF KILLINGS AND HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN TAMPAKAN BY ROMMEL DE VERA

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“TORTURE IMPUNITY, AN ANALYSIS OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ANTI-TORTURE LAW IN THE PHILIPPINES” -UATC

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THE IMPACT OF PHILIPPINES’ CONDITIONAL CASH TRANSFER PROGRAM ON CONSUMPTION BY MELBA V. TUTOR

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Sa aming EMCEEs na sina Emil Tapnio, Sunshine Serrano at Ron De Vera.

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[Press Release] Human Rights Day 2014: Psychosocial Support in focus with launch of Report-IRCT

Human Rights Day 2014: Psychosocial Support in focus with launch of Report

To mark this year’s Human Rights Day, the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT) together with the Medical Action Group (MAG) has launched the report ‘In Pursuit of Justice’, casting a light on psychosocial support for victims of torture in legal proceedings.

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Psychosocial Support for victims of torture in the pursuit of justice is a key area within rehabilitation.

Fear of reprisals and re-traumatisation, no belief in the justice system and fear of stigmatisation from community or family members are some of the factors dissuading victims of torture from participating in legal proceedings against their perpetrators.

In addition, a trial is often an emotionally painful process during which the torture victim will require constant support from health and legal professionals to prevent re-traumatisation.

However, despite the potentially positive impact, the issue currently receives little attention. In general there is a lack of awareness of the degree to which torture can affect a victim’s testimony and therefore the impact that participation in legal proceedings can have on the victim’s psychological well-being.

By offering victims of torture specialised psychosocial support and access to justice programmes, centres can help them overcome the psychological burden of a trial, and also enhance the therapeutic impact of justice on the individual’s rehabilitation.

“On this Human Rights Day, the IRCT puts the spotlight on a critical yet neglected area within the fight against impunity and rehabilitation itself. The positive effects of psychosocial support to victims of torture in legal proceedings and to the fight against impunity cannot be ignored,” said Victor Madrigal-Borloz, IRCT Secretary-General.

The report is the result of a fruitful collaboration between our organisation and the IRCT, with the valuable contribution of torture victims and the professionals working to support them.

The report is now available for download at http://www.irct.org

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[Statement] Asserting the Filipino People’s Right to Health -MAG

Asserting the Filipino People’s Right to Health

After four years the Philippine healthcare system under the Aquino administration remains bleak if not getting worse. Health care inequalities, failed public health financing, the continuous exodus of health care professionals, weak health care response to disaster and the lack of immediate health care provisions to victims of human rights violations characterized the ill-state of the Philippine Public Health System.

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Inequities in Health Services

While the Philippine government claimed to gain a steady economic growth since President Aquino assumed office in 2010, there is a minimal improvement in poverty incidence as inequities in the access of health care services remain. 2012 Study of the Universal Health Care Study Group shows that 60% of Filipinos who die, die without being attended by health professionals. Even in birth mortality, among the rich, only 10 infants out of 1,000 live births die but among the poor, it is more than 90 infants.

Universal Health Care

Although, the Aquino administration has made strides in the incremental increase in the population coverage of Universal Health Care (Kalusugan Pangkalahatan) but it is only 9% of Financial Risk Protection that actually shouldered by Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PHilHealth). This is despite of the “no balance billing policy” for PhilHealth members, which leaves more poor Filipinos with no other option but to rely on the private sector for their health care needs even though there is nothing in their pocket to begin with. The government must go beyond ensuring that each Filipino has a PhilHealth card. It should mean the enjoyment of the essential health services, basic medicines and appropriate quality health care.

Devolution of Public Health

While there is a big improvement in the health facilities through the Health Facilities Enhancement Program, however, inefficiency in service delivery persists as patient referral system and gatekeeping do not work well due to the decentralized administration of public hospitals and the presence of a large private sector which often create fragmentation and variation in the health services across the country.

Migration of Health Workers

It can’t be denied that there is a chronic shortage of health care personnel in our public health care delivery. Only 30% of health professionals are actually serving the 70% of the population. This is due to the fact that Philippines is now a major exporter of health workers. And many more are expected to join the exodus as their benefits under RA 7305 (Magna Carta of Public Health Workers) such as Hazard Pay, Subsistence and Laundry Allowances were either totally not given or cut back. Sometimes they rely on act of political charity that usually perpetuates patronage politics.

Health Care Response to Disaster

It is much worse in times of calamities as the government failed to ensure the available, accessible, appropriate, timely and with quality delivery health care services to disaster affected communities. The government usually depends on international support aid to cover the affected population’s health care needs. How can we expect for the government to be even prepared for Ebola virus epidemic?

Right to Health Care of Human Right Victims

In spite of the passage of a number of human rights legislations particularly the Republic Act No. 9745 or the Anti-Torture law of 2009 which does not only penalize the act of torture but guarantee the right of the victim to have immediate medical and psychological treatment, victims are usually denied of health care provisions for lack of existing government programs. While the immediate treatment and rehabilitation of survivors and their families are urgent and vital, they can’t however achieve complete healing without the pursuit of justice and an access to effective legal remedies.

Government must act NOW!

Today as we commemorate the International Human Rights Day 2014, the Medical Action Group calls on the Aquino government to walk its talk; it should back its promises particularly on health care programs with action. It can’t ignore the reality on the ground. The Kalusugan Pangkalahatan can’t be a mere lip service but rather must ensure every Filipino’s right to health.

We all share a sense of urgency. It is time for us, PNoy’s bosses to claim our rights.

Medical Action Group
HR Day Statement
10 December 2014

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[Press Release] Group asks UN Special Rapporteur to query Negros labor activist killings -PM

Group asks UN Special Rapporteur to query Negros labor activist killings

Justice Rolando Pango

Justice Rolando Pango

On the occasion of International Human Rights Day, the Partido Manggagawa asked UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders Michel Forst to inquire on the killings of labor activists in Negros Occidental. “The culture of impunity and extra-judicial killings of labor activists persists under the administration of Benigno Aquino III. In the last two years, two farm worker leaders have been killed while another survived an assassination attempt, all in Negros where agrarian and labor disputes simmer,” stated Renato Magtubo, PM national chair.

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Forst is in the Philippines and has expressed interest in requesting the government for an official visit and investigation after meeting with human rights groups over the past several days. Two predecessors of Forst were unable to obtain invitations from the government to inquire into reports of attacks against human rights defenders in the country.

The spate of killings against worker and land rights defenders in Negros happened amidst agrarian and labor disputes between farm workers and sugar planters. Last November 29, Rolando Pango, a PM member, labor leader in Binalbagan town and an organizer in neighboring Isabela town died after being shot in the head by two men. Pango had previously received death threats while he was assisting workers of Hacienda Salud in Isabela town in processing for coverage under land reform and in filing illegal dismissal charges against landlord Manuel “Manolet” Lamata. Lamata heads the powerful Negros sugar planters association.

PM also called on the Department of Labor and Employment, the National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council and the Department of Justice to take cognizance of Pango’s case as they have a mandate to act on labor-related extra-judicial killings.

Since 2011, the labor coalition Nagkaisa!, of which PM is an affiliate, has been engaged in dialogue with the Aquino administration on key labor issues, including some 62 unsolved cases of labor-related extra-judicial killings.

Magtubo added that in December 29, 2012, Victoriano Embang, president of the Maria Cecilia Farm Workers Association (MACFAWA) in Moises Padilla town, was killed amidst another agrarian and labor dispute with the influential Montillano clan. His brother, Anterio, also a leader of MACFAWA, later survived an ambush in February 28, 2013.

Still PM insisted that the most widespread infringement of human rights in the labor front is the violation of workers’ right to freedom of association and collective bargaining.

“The onslaught of state-sanctioned contractualization schemes have effectively disarmed workers of their ability to defend themselves, through their unions, against many forms of abuse and exploitation” concluded Magtubo.

Press Release
December 10, 2014

http://partidongmanggagawa2001.blogspot.com/2014/12/group-asks-un-special-rapporteur-to-act.html?spref=fb

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[Press Release] Human rights groups urge the government to lead the way in the protection of human rights defenders in the ASEAN region

Human rights groups urge the government to lead the way in the protection of human rights defenders in the ASEAN region

The Medical Action Group (MAG) and Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) urge the government to lead the way in the protection and defense of human rights defenders in the ASEAN region through enactment of a law on the protection of human rights defenders and conduct a comprehensive legislative audit in order to review and repeal laws which criminalize their work.

MAG TFDP

In a statement, “the Philippines should ensure that the leadership it shows in terms of promotion of human rights in the ASEAN is reflected in our national laws,” MAG and TFDP said.

Based on documentation of the MAG and TFDP, it is increasingly well documented that the use of laws to impede the activities of human rights defenders and to criminalize them is alarming. http://www.omct.org/files/2014/12/22918/obs_2014_uk_web2.pdf

“We have faced significant challenges on the field that in many cases, complaints by human rights defenders about alleged violations of their rights are not investigated or are dismissed without justification. For instance, the case of Antonio L. Tolentino, human rights defender and barangay chairperson of Barangay Hacienda Dolores in Porac, Pampanga, he is in detention since April this year due to lack of competent investigation into the charges filed by the private security agency employed by ,”  Edeliza P. Hernandez, MAG Executive Director said.

Further, Emmanuel C. Amistad, TFDP Executive Director, said that it is disconcerting to know the arrest and detention of Jose Aaron Pedrosa, Jr., lawyer and human rights defender, on November 25, 2014 in Mandaue City. He was charged with obstruction of justice while pleading to authorities to stop harassing the residents of Sitio Mahayag, Barangay Subang Daku, Mandaue City. These acts of intimidation and harassment only shows the inadequacy of laws to support the work of human rights defenders and serving to further erode any confidence in our judicial system.

Human rights defenders play a crucial role in exposing and seeking accountability for human rights violations both by government and corporations. Their work is crucial to transparency, good governance and justice for victims.

The MAG and TFDP are currently implementing 3-year project, “Use of Evidence Based Approach to Human Rights Documentation and Monitoring for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and their Families, and in the Fight Against Impunity”, worth Php 25 million supported by the European Union (EU) under its European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), to provide support for and strengthen protection of human rights defenders and their families.

The provision of medical and psychological services including temporary shelter, and legal support to human rights defenders at risk and their families, as they participate in long, extremely difficult and for some reason, dangerous legal proceeding, have resulted in providing adequate protection for them to pursue legal remedies.

“We continuously ensure efforts have been made to cooperate with the UN system and human rights mechanisms with a mandate to protect human rights defenders wherein the United Nations Human Rights Council in its 27th session on August 27, 2014 (A/HRC/27/38, August 27, 2014, Human Rights Council, 27th session Agenda items 2 and 5) included in its agenda the intimidation and harassment against Jun Sapanghari, human rights defender in Bukidnon, killings of  land rights defenders Elisa Tulid in Quezon province, Sixto Bagasala Jr. in Malabon City  and Julieto Lauron in Bukidnon,” MAG and TFDP both said.

It is, however, regrettable that despite repeated calls by international human rights organizations and members of the diplomatic community, the Philippines have yet to act on enactment of specific law on the protection of human rights defenders.

“We call on the government to provide the basis for a safe and enabling environment for human rights defenders like Brgy. Captain Tolentino, Atty. Pedrosa among others and take all steps to end restrictions against them,’ MAG and TFDP both concluded.

House Bill No. 1472 , “Human Rights Defenders Protection Act of 2013” http://www.congress.gov.ph/members/search.php?id=hicap-f&pg=coauth could assist not only to provide formal legal protection to the work of human rights defenders, but also to give official recognition to the legitimacy of such work, educate authorities, public officials and the public at large about the importance of human rights defenders and the protection thereof.-end-

BACKGROUND

The MAG and TFDP are currently implementing 3-year project worth Php 25 million supported by the European Union (EU) under its European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), http://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/philippines/documents/press_corner/20142606c.pdf to provide support for and strengthen protection of human rights defenders and their families.

The title of the project is “Use of Evidence Based Approach to Human Rights Documentation and Monitoring for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and their Families, and in the Fight Against Impunity”.

The prevention of torture and the rehabilitation of torture victims has been one of the priorities for funding under the EIDHR which, since 2006, has provided more than € 6 million (or Php 360 million) to support civil society’s efforts to address various human rights issues in the Philippines.

Under its bilateral cooperation, the EU also provides significant resources and technical assistance for the protection of human rights. Through the EU-Philippines Justice Support Programme (EPJUST), it notably cooperates with the various stakeholders of the criminal justice system to reinforce their capacities to ensure the conviction of perpetrators of major human rights violations such as extra-legal killings, enforced disappearances, and torture.

In the future, the EU will increase its support to the Commission on Human Rights and to civil society for better human rights protection.

December 10, 2014
Press release

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[Statement] Human Rights in the Aquino Administration: Failure of Leadership, No Direction, Impunity Perpetuated -PAHRA

Impunity Worsens Effects of Climate Change
International Human Rights Day
December 10, 2014

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Photo by Sonny Resuena

Photo by Sonny Resuena

Human Rights in the Aquino Administration:
Failure of Leadership, No Direction, Impunity Perpetuated

Walang pamumuno ang administrasyong Aquino sa pagpapatupad ng karapatang pantao para sa malawak na bilang ng mamamayang Pilipino.

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Walang inilabas na National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP).  Walang itinakdang pangkalahatang balangkas at pambansang targets na dapat makamit sa kabuuang panahon ng pamamahala ni Presidente Benigno S. Aquino, III, bilang Chief Executive at Commander-in-Chief ng Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Bara-bara, kanya-kanyang planong pang-departamento at mapili ayon sa lakas-tulak ng mamamayan at tawag ng pulitika sa pagtataguyod na kalimitan ay di pinapansin ang karapatang pantao.  Nakakalungkot at nakaka-ngitngit ang pagpabaya sa ganitong kaayusan ng Commission on Human Rights (CHR), pangunahing institusyong binuo ng ating Saligang Batas noong 1986 na inaasahang taga-bantay at taga-subaybay sa pagpapatupad ng pamahalaan ng mga obligasyon nito na ipatupad ang mga karapatang pantao.

May nagawa, kung may nagawa ang pamahalaan, ngunit di masinsin at pursigido upang maibsan kung di man tuluyang matigil ang malaganap na kultura ng impunity o walang kalunasan na maasahan sa mga mabibigat at paglaganap ng paglabag sa karapantang pantao.

Impunity and Climate Change

Impunity lurks even amidst the typhoons and disasters.  It worsens also the effects of climate change.

An example of this is the Presidential visit in Manicani last November 2014. An event after a year of super typhoon Haiyan or Yolanda’s devastation in the country illustrates how impunity persists and overcasts the gains in the human rights arena.

Manicani, a site of mining explorations and operations since the late 1980’s, experienced destruction of their environment as well as their sources of food, water and means of subsistence and livelihood.  Affected people protested and resisted the mining onslaught.  No one has been held accountable.

Then came Yolanda.  Making its first landfall in Guiuan with its 47,000 population, destroyed most of the buildings, injured some 2,000 left, 100 persons dead and made the poor people, as well as their environment and their sources of subsistence, poorer. Poverty is not only made worse but also perpetuated and made more difficult if not impossible to escape.

Enter the present “non-operating” mining company in Manicani, Nickel Asia Corporation, to help build more than 400 houses.  And the President was “inspired” to mark this effort as the exemplar of “resilience”, according to UNDP Standards.  Nothing has been mentioned of the impunity of mining companies against people’s rights, especially their economic and social rights.  Impunity has been layered over.

Take another example – the Marcopper spill and continuing threat in Marinduque.

While on a different vein, there seems to be indifference and the lack of effective action of government since 1996 to prevent the “imminent danger” of the Maguila-guila dam from another toxic spill resulting from leftover wastes of the Marinduque Copper Mining Corp. (Marcopper).  The situation could be more devastating than what the people first experienced in 1996 points to an inconsistency in government’s present strategic planning to make the country ready for the consequences of climate change.  Marinduque, hit by Typhoon Hagupit or Ruby at 11am Monday, still have to assess whether the dam has been affected and what consequences occurred.  Any   accountability will mainly be that of government, specifically the present officials who has so far perpetuated impunity and reneged with their obligations to human and inter-generational rights, especially to 87,000 people of the towns of Boac and Mogpoc.

The Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), however, perceives that in Manicani and in Marinduque, the President and his administration has given the overall go-signal for nation-wide corporate-backed impunity against people and environment.

It exposes, as a whole, the inconsistencies in development plans and actualities on the ground.

Development Aggression Spearheaded by Impunity

While thousands of farmer-human rights defenders are still struggling against human rights violations and for their beneficiary status over more than half a million hectares covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), many have the added difficulties of contending with corporations’ legal and armed capabilities.  For example:

Armando Campos y Adlawan, an indigenous Manobo member of the NDC Estates Inc. Multi-Purpose Cooperative (NGEI MPC), allegedly killed on August 9, 2014 by personnel of the Filipinas Palm Oil Plantation, Inc. (FPPI), the biggest palm oil plantation in Mindanao, while struggling until this date  to reclaim their land in Agusan del Sur covered by CARP;

CARP Beneficiaries and Aetas claiming their Ancestral Land / Domain are fighting against FL Properties – now Terrafirma Holdings Inc., and LLL Holdings Inc., which may be part of the urban development planned by Ayala Land (ALI) which is investing P75B to develop Alviera, a 1,100-hectare mix-used community situated in Porac, Pampanga. The Aetas were once victim of Spanish and American land grabbers. Now, there vulnerabilities are exploited by present–day capitalists in the guise of being “developers” ‘ so as to annex with force the IPs ancestral lands/domain.

The acquiescence and/or collution of local government authorities and security forces in some instances are not isolated cases but precedents of contestations which could escalate into armed conflict if not determinedly resolved justly.  The cases in Agusan del Sur and in Tampacan, South Cotabato show that the incidents of impunity against civil-political rights in these areas are mainly off-shoot of impunity against the economic, social and cultural rights of people.

For decades, Human Rights Defenders have fought for similar rights. Many have sacrificed even their lives. Many are still in prison.

This pattern of impunity could continue and be multiplied if the government, with the President’s Emergency Powers to avert an unproved energy crisis, will build more coal plants (17 existing, 26 approved, 12 proposed, 71 coal mining permits) and release more carbon emissions that would destroy surrounding water systems and sources of subsistence, harm people’s health as well as exacerbate global warming and climate change.  Production of dirty energy from coal is only profitable to a handful of elite business people but will, in the long run, wreck havoc to the people and the planet. Resistance against violations and destructions, as well as struggles for a life with dignity and full human development will not be an option, but an imperative.

PAHRA calls on all defenders of human rights, both duty bearers and claimholders, to set up formations at all levels that will ensure that human rights are the preferred values in every branch of governance and in every development plan and implementation.

Protect Human Rights Defenders and  release imprisoned ones.

End political dynasties and advance participative democracy.

Pass the Freedom of Information Bill now for more informed citizenry.

Halt further building of and operating coal plants.  Increase projects of Renewable Energy.

Work for a binding international treaty that holds corporations accountable of human rights violations and abuses.
 
Make human rights be the framework of the 2014 Updated Philippine Development Plan.

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[Statement] Giving power to the people through the internet -HRonlinePH.com

Giving power to the people through the internet

What matters is not technology, but how we use it.

The use of the internet is one of the issues to have arisen in recent times. And we all stood not merely as witnesses but as users of the transforming power of the internet in advancing various issues of human rights from freedom of expression, gender equality to climate justice among others.

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The internet provides an enormous space for people to speak up against abuses by authorities and claim for their rights, and social media is increasingly playing a huge role in disasters and humanitarian efforts. The typhoon Yolanda, earthquake in Bohol and more recently the typhoon Ruby all saw prominent use of social medial by survivors, relief aid organizations and media alike. The use of the internet also enables affected communities to quickly transform themselves into first responders and messenger of news.

While we recognize that the internet in and of itself does not save lives, the intelligent and effective use of internet does.  In the World Disasters Report 2013 by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, “focuses on the rapid spread of technologies, especially information and communication technologies, which is changing humanitarian action and humanitarians, too.” The internet, in the hands of the people, we can witness effective and life-saving results and expose massive corruption-laden rehabilitation projects.

This is evidently shows the power of the internet being used for advancement of human rights and for public good.

While the internet rights are already considered human rights and fundamental freedoms, yet they are increasingly at risk in so many aspects of our lives. 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 the 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.

We fully recognize that with every right, there is a corresponding responsibility, though freedom requires self regulation, the responsible use of the internet offers concrete actions to make humanitarian assistance more effective and accountable, and we must intelligently use the internet to Inform, Inspire and Mobilize people to effect real change.

Today as we commemorate the International Human Rights Day 2014, we must bear in mind that human rights are inherent among us. Let us all work together to contribute in the advancement of human rights, make use of the internet powerful and effective every day.

Human Rights Online Philippines
Inform.Inspire.Mobilize.

Statement
December 10, 2014

[Press Release] Extra-judicial killings, other human rights violations persist under ‘tuwid na daan’ – Nagkaisa!

Extra-judicial killings, other human rights violations persist under ‘tuwid na daan’ – Nagkaisa!

A culture of impunity translated into extra-judicial killings (EJK) and other forms of human rights violations against leaders and labor organizers continue under the ‘tuwid na daan’, a coalition of major trade unions and labor organizations in the country, Nagkaisa!, said in a statement on the eve of the celebration of International Human Rights Day.

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Since 2011, Nagkaisa! is engaged in dialogues with the Aquino administration on several labor issues, including some 62 unsolved cases of EJKs involving labor.

Nagkaisa! said the most recent in the cases of unsolved EJKs was the  murder of a labor organizer in Negros Occidental.  Rolando Pango, a full time organizer of Partido Manggagawa (PM) was gunned down in Binalbagan town in Negros Occidental on Novermber 29, 2014.

“Prior to his death, Pango was deeply involved in both the agrarian and labor disputes in Hacienda Salud, a 135-hectare sugar plantation in Barangay Rumirang, Isabela leased and managed by Manuel Lamata,” said PM Chair Renato Magtubo.

Pango was instrumental in organizing the plantation workers in Hacienda Salud who in June applied the land under CARPER coverage.  Salud workers has also filed of a case of illegal dismissal before the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) against Lamata for unlawful termination 41 workers.

PM and Nagkaisa is calling on both the national and local governments to render immediate justice to this case.

Josua Mata, Secretary General of Alliance of Progressive Labor–Sentro, said Nagkaisa will be raising this issue before the Tripartite Industrial Council (TIPC) and the DOJ panel investigating the EJKs.

“Like Ruby, solving cases of EJKs in the country is a slow-grind,” said Mata.

Before Pango, another PM organizer, Victoriano Embang, leader of Maria Cecilia Farm Workers Association (MACFAWA) in Moises Padilla, Negros Occidental was also killed on December 29, 2012.  A failed assassination attempt against his brother, Anterio Embang, followed  few months later, February 28, 2013.
A Negrense himself, Magtubo said Negros remains a ‘labor hotspot’ because of strong resistance by landlords to agrarian reform and their outmoded serf-type treatment of their laborers.

“Perhaps this regional feudal context has escaped the eyes of the labor department and the national government.  Or they simply don’t care,” added Magtubo.

Aside from EJKs, Nagkaisa! is also alarmed at the resurgence of other forms of human rights violations.

Last October,  Antonio Cuizon, president of the Panaghiusa sa Mamumuo sa Carmen Copper, was arrested on trumped up charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives.  The union and the management were then in the thick of labor dispute when the case was file against Quizon.

But the most widespread of human rights violations, Nagkaisa! said, is the violation of labor’s right to freedom of association and collective bargaining.

“The onslaught of state-sanctioned contractualization schemes have effectively disarmed workers of their ability to defend themselves, through their unions, against many forms of abuse and exploitation,” concluded Magtubo.

NEWS RELEASE
NAGKAISA!
09 December 2014
Contact: Wilson Fortaleza
09053732185

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[From the web] Human rights 365 -OHCHR

Human rights 365

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On 10 December every year, Human Rights Day commemorates the date on which the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaiming its principles as the “common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations.”

This year’s slogan, Human Rights 365, encompasses the idea that every day is Human Rights Day. It celebrates the fundamental proposition in the Universal Declaration that each one of us, everywhere, at all times is entitled to the full range of human rights, that human rights belong equally to each of us and bind us together as a global community with the same ideals and values.

In 2014 the message from Human Rights 365 is unequivocal: the UN Human Rights Office stands by its mandate and stands with the millions of men and women globally, who risk their all for human rights.

Make your voice heard now via our campaign on Vine: explain why Human Rights matter 365.

It is as important now, as it has been at any time in recent years to declare your membership of and support for the international human rights community.

On any scale, 2014 will be remembered as a year of daunting human rights challenges. In places where only recently there had been progress in achieving human rights, there has now been retreat. Nonetheless, there have been, significant, ongoing, global advances in achieving our human rights.

Support for the Declaration continues to grow: this year the Convention against Torture reached its 30th year, the Convention on the Rights of the Child is 25. In 2015, the very first of the international agreements giving effect to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination marks its half century.

As a global community we all share a day when those milestones can be acknowledged and we can take stock of the challenges ahead: Human Rights Day on 10 December. It offers all of us the opportunity to declare our commitment to the principles and standards developed over the more than six decades since the the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted.

Human Rights 365 on Vine
In six seconds tell us why human rights matter 365 and post it on Vine. Tag your Vine with #rights365 and we will collect them all in our Storify and tell the story on 10 December.

Human Rights 365 on social media
We want all of you to mobilize in support of our right to enjoy every day as a human rights day. Join our Thunderclap: support human rights 365.

Statements and video messages
Statements by the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein will be available shortly before December 10.

Visual designs
Visual designs promoting Human Rights DAY 2014 will soon be available in all six official UN languages and may be downloaded in either colour or black and white.

Source: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/HRDay2014/Pages/HRD2014.aspx