Monday, December 10, 2007

The Philippine Human Rights Situation

As we commemorate International Human Rights Day, my sentiments and views will not so much dwell on the sufferings in other countries. Don't get me wrong but I would rather focus on our own people who have yet to experience pure and unadulterated freedom. We are in a country where democracy is dysfunctional. Where rights are determined by the name you carry and the power you wield.

We live in a country where children languish and toil, where women suffer in silence and families torn apart. Indigenous peoples are driven from their ancestral lands and all forms of abuse flourish. There is suffering in all parts of the country. One need not look nor walk very far to witness the harsh life most of our people live in.

Ours is a government who looks after itself instead of the people its suppose to serve. The violations are not limited to extra-judicial killings or enforced disappearances. The government violates even the people's senses. They condone human trafficking by their policy of sending our family members to slave abroad. They violate the people with the raiding of the national coffers. They abuse our children through continuing poverty which has caused a rising dropout rate and increasing number of child laborers.

Poverty is the result of lack of genuine reforms and band aid solutions. There simply is no national program to create more opportunities for employment. The corruption that pervades in our country has made us one of the most corrupt countries in the world. From the most insignificant public office to the highest office of the land, corruption has been institutionalized.

Our leaders continue to misrepresent us and cart away millions in kickbacks and bribes. A deluge of scandals has drowned out values leaving our institutions morally bankrupt. While our leaders enrich themselves, the people are left with almost nothing. Health care and education has been overtaken by white elephants that sinks the country in the quagmire of debt. Monopolies of powerful families continue to hurt the lowly Filipino.

We are deprived of our civil liberties by the terrorist acts of the current dispensation. Rallies no matter how peaceful are met with violence. Political dissent is met with an iron fist. Journalists are threatened openly with arrest. Freedom is curtailed with impunity. Fear is struck in the hearts of those who try to open the eyes of the people.

Human rights is not as simple as we think. Its not a simple list of things that you and I may exercise. Human rights goes beyond that. Even as babies evolve in the wombs of their mothers, they already have these rights. Its not simply an idea but a feeling that we all must experience. Human rights is FREEDOM.

I will leave you with THIS to inspire you that you can make a difference.

  1. We are all born free and equal
  2. Don't discriminate
  3. The right to life
  4. No slavery
  5. No torture
  6. You have rights no matter where you go
  7. We're all equal before the law
  8. Your human rights are protected by law
  9. No unfair detainment
  10. The right to trial
  11. We're always innocent till proven guilty
  12. The right to privacy
  13. Freedom to move
  14. The right to seek a safe place to live
  15. Right to a nationality
  16. Marriage and family
  17. The right to your things
  18. Freedom of thought
  19. Freedom of expression
  20. The right to public assembly
  21. The right to democracy
  22. Social security
  23. Worker's rights
  24. The right to play
  25. Food and shelter for all
  26. The right to education
  27. Copyright
  28. A fair and free world
  29. Responsibility
  30. No one can take away your human rights