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Rights group to mark Int'l Human Rights Day with protests vs abuses, war of aggression

BAGUIO CITY — Human rights alliance Karapatan and militant umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) on Friday kicked off the ten-day commemoration of International Human Rights Day highlighting the narratives of victims-survivors of human rights violations and communities reportedly under attack by state forces showing the present human rights picture in the country.

Environmental activists and abduction survivors Jhed Tamano and Jonila Castro; Jane Molina Lee of Rise Up for Life and Rights, an organization of families of victims of the anti-drug war; professor Kit Kwe of the Free Amanda Echanis Movement; Hailey Pecayo, young human rights worker from Southern Tagalog; indigenous peoples rights activist Funa-ay Claver; and Bayan secretary general Raymond Palatino completed the panel narrating the different victimizations of human rights around the archipelago.

“This year’s commemoration of International Human Rights Day is particularly significant as we also mark the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR),” Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay explained. 

“It is but fitting to put the spotlight on the current dismal human rights situation in the country vis a vis international human rights norms," she added.

"We will find that as far as persons and communities in the grassroots are concerned, the human rights situation in the Philippines falls very short of the ideals embodied in the UDHR," Palabay also said.

 Aside from the prevalence of state-sponsored extrajudicial killings, Palabay said that enforced disappearances, illegal arrests and detention, of particular concern are the growing violations of International Humanitarian Law.  

“Civilians are being increasingly targeted in the course of counter-insurgency operations through indiscriminate aerial bombings and artillery attacks, wreaking havoc on their lives and livelihood," she said.

“In the cities...draconian anti-terrorism laws are intensively being weaponized against activists and other dissenters. Victims are red-tagged, threatened and harassed and subjected to worse forms of human rights violations, effectively shrinking the civic space," Palabay added.