2019 polls choice between 'better lives or doomed souls' – rights groups
MANILA, Philippines – The upcoming elections would give Filipinos an "exceptional opportunity" to address the human rights crisis and culture of impunity under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, human rights advocates said on Thursday, March 7.
“The 2019 elections is a defining moment for the aggrieved Filipino masses. Whether we move forward as a nation hoping for better lives or as doomed souls is literally in the hands of every voter inside the polling booths come May 13,” said the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA).
“At this juncture, we simply cannot afford a business-as-usual approach to this political exercise,” it added.
To help the public in the discernment process, PAHRA launched a 10-point human rights agenda which can help solve the problems on the ground, particularly those affecting the poorest communities.
The group said voters should select a candidate that can promise to govern based on the following:
- Human rights-based governance
- Compliance with international human rights treaties and instruments
- Access to justice, accountability, and ending impunity
- Protection for vulnerable sectors
- Protection for human rights defenders
- Attainment of sustainable and inclusive peace and security
- Enforcement of food sovereignty, decent livelihood, and sustainable housing
- Enforcement of laws towards a healthy and safe environment
- Enforcement of a people-centered development program
- Protection against foreign aggression and exploitation
“We call on the public to demand that candidates adopt this human rights agenda, and to vote for those who do, in order to prevent further erosion of our democratic traditions and processes, and build the future with decent competent leaders with effective programs,” PAHRA said.
Candidates should also adopt the agenda in their electoral platforms if genuine change is to be achieved in the government.
“Kailangan lahat ng nais manilbihan ay gawing core value ang human rights,” said Ellecer Carlos of In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND). “Mahalaga ito sa pagtugon sa mga suliranin ng lipunan and their root causes.”
(Those who want to serve the public should make human rights their core value. This is needed in addressing the problems of society and their root causes.)
“Hanggang ang mga lider sa bayan na ito ay hindi pinaninindigan ang kaparatang pantao, hindi uunlad o hindi makakawala sa kahirapan ang ating mga kababayan (Unless our leaders do not stand for human rights, we will not progress as a nation and our countrymen will not rise from poverty)," he added.
The human rights advocates made the call as President Rodrigo Duterte continued to demonize them as obstacles to the change he wants to achieve for the country. (READ: Powering through a crisis: Defending human rights under Duterte) – Rappler.com