Filipino groups commemorate International Human Rights Day

CEBU (Mindanao Examiner / Dec. 10, 2013) – Various human rights groups held a solidarity candle lighting in the Philippines in commemoration of the International Human Rights Day and offered this to typhoon victims in the Visayas and victims of human rights violation in the country.

“We devote the commemoration of International Human Rights Day for all those who suffered and continue to suffer the result of climate change and environmental destruction caused by greed, development aggression and government neglect,” Emmanuel Amistad, Executive Director of the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), said in a statement to the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner.

Amistad also called on government leaders to prioritize the needs of the victims and refrain from politicking.

“We light up for typhoon Haiyan victims, we light up for human rights, dahil higit sa lahat ay dapat unahin ng pamahalaan ang kapakanan ng mga taong nasalanta kaysa pagpapabida. Dapat matauhan na ang mga kurap na pulitiko at tigilan na ang pamumulsa ng pondo ng bayan at ilaan sa dapat nitong puntahan. Dahil dapat Tao muna! Hindi tubo at kita, dahil dapat tao muna hindi pamumulitika at pabida,” he said.

“Although our fellow Filipinos in disaster stricken areas, especially in Leyte needs all the help, relief and support we can provide, it will not be enough to solve the problems. Other future disasters will come and if the government will not be serious and sincere in performing its duty to protect its people instead of profit and corruption, all these will just be repeated.”

In Visayas, members of TFDP and its allies from the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) held their “Light UP 4 Yolanda Victims, Light UP 4 Rights” at the University of the Philippines Cebu.

“We light candles in solidarity for all victims of climate disaster, mining and other profit driven development projects that does not benefit the people, instead harm them and lead to violations of their human rights”, it said.

Human rights defenders in the southern Philippines – TFDP, PMCJ and Freedom from Debt Coalition together with other social and climate activists led the candle lighting activities in Centennial Park in Davao City. Candle lighting activities at Bukidnon, Surigao Del Sur and Iligan were also held simultaneously.

Human rights groups said solidarity candle lighting were also held for victims of the September siege in Zamboanga City, Bohol and Cebu Earthquake, and other natural and man-made disasters that devastated our peoples and communities. “We hope we can help inspire them to stand up and we are with them in struggling to regain what has been damaged and lost from them”, TFDP said.