In commemoration of the International Human Rights Day of 2013, human rights groups held nationwide solidarity candle lighting in several parts of the country, for victims of typhoon Yolanda and other natural disasters and victims of human rights violations.
“We devote today’s 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,” said Emmanuel Amistad, Executive Director of the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP).
While the group extends their heartfelt solidarity to all victims, they are also calling on government leaders to prioritize the needs of the victims and refrain from politicking.
“We Light UP for Yolanda 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,” Amistad added.
“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,” Amistad said.
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.”
In Mindanao, human rights defenders, TFDP, PMCJ and Freedom from Debt Coalition together with other social and climate activists led the candle lighting activities in Centennial Park, San Pedro Street, Davao City. Candle lighting activities at Bukidnon, Surigao Del Sur and Iligan were also held simultaneously.
According to the group they are also dedicating the solidarity candle lighting for victims of Zamboanga siege, Bohol and Cebu Earthquake, and other natural and manmade disasters that devastated our peoples and communities. Saying, “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.”
Youth and students in several universities also gave their solidarity LightUP activity. Students from De La Salle College of Saint Benilde participated in the Quezon City Memorial Circle LightUP activity. Members of Youth for Rights (Y4R) and Teatro Kahimanawari of Marikina Polytechnic University held their candle lighting in front of Marikina City Hall Freedom Park. Others participated in the online solidarity in the social networking site Facebook.
In Quezon City, more than 300 members of the Philipppine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), Amnesty International – Philippines and Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), held the LightUP for Yolanda Victims, LightUP4 Rights activity at the fountain area in Quezon City Memorial Circle.
The group lamented that “Sa kulang-kulang na pamamahala, Tao ang kawawa.” The group also reminded PNoy of his obligation to issue a National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP) in compliance with the recommendation of the Universal Periodic Review of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
- Calling on the government of the Philippines to prioritize the rights of victims and stop politicking
- Government of the Philippines