Editorial: Advancing Human Rights Movement, Defending Human Rights Defenders
Volume 22 Number 2
Tuesday, 19 January 2010 14:14

volume_22_no._2__3by Sr. Cres Lucero, SFIC

(as delivered on the 18th of September, 2008 at the 9th Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates Public Forum entitled “Defending Human Rights Defenders”)

Allow me in closing to be a little bit nostalgic. Twenty one years ago we formed the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates. It has been twenty one long years – from the total war of Corazon Aquino, the Philippines 2000 of FVR, the short-lived presidency of Erap and now the strong republic of PGMA. Twenty one years of advancing human rights from the dark shadows of Marcos to the “democratic rule” of four presidents.

And from these four presidents we were witness to Total War, peace negotiations, war in Mindanao and the emasculation of democratic institutions today. We were witness to the continuing depredations on life, human dignity and liberty.

Today as before, human rights is under fire, human rights defenders are under attack.

The unprecedented spate of political killings and enforced disappearances under the Arroyo government is ample proof. Executive privilege, Calibrated pre-emptive response, corruption of democratic institutions, corruption of our very own way of life may be the legacy of this government to the next generation.

And now we have a very volatile situation in Mindanao that can be laid squarely at the door of Malacanang. Government must be taken to task for not engaging in democratic participation and in employing consensus building methods to resolve not only the problems in that island but for the whole nation as well.

Twenty one years plus the fourteen years of struggle against the dictatorship is a total of 35 years. Thirty five years of our generation have been spent in the service of human rights and human dignity.

And today in the sunset of our years we can proudly say our passion for humanity continues to fuel our steadfast commitment to human rights.

Let me end by quoting a favourite passage from Corinthians, “we hard-pressed on every side but not crushed, perplexed but not in despair, persecuted but not abandoned, struck down but not destroyed.”

To those who wish us ill, every rock, every trial, every tribulation you throw at us will make us stronger and firmer in our promotion and defence of human rights. We shall overcome!

To those who wish us well, we ask that you join us. Together let us build a society where fullness of life is enjoyed by all. Together, nothing can stand in our way “no mountain high enough, no river wide enough”. We shall prevail!

Mabuhay ang Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates!
Mabuhay ang mga Tagapagtanggol ng Karapatang Pantao!

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