human rights in the Philippines

LIST: 2023 International Human Rights Day events, activities

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LIST: 2023 International Human Rights Day events, activities
For the 75th celebration of International Human Rights Day in the Philippines, groups are urging Filipinos to join the call for the strengthening of freedom of expression, digital rights, and women and children’s rights among others

MANILA, Philippines — Several progressive groups in the Philippines are organizing initiatives and activities for the 75th year of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to specifically uphold and put into spotlight the different calls that encapsulate human rights. 

The International Day of Human Rights celebration is observed annually by different countries following the 1948 United Nations General Assembly that adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This year, the theme of the celebration “Freedom, Equality, and Justice for All” highlights the new and ongoing struggles on the recent pandemic, conflicts, climate justice, and rampant inequalities. 

As part of the celebration, various groups are holding different events and activities to highlight the diverse aspects of human rights that are being advocated for in the country. 

Here is a developing list of events joining for the celebration of the human rights declaration: 

Bangsamoro Human Rights Commission BARMM

The Bangsamoro Human Rights Commision BARMM is organizing “Run for Kawagib” on Sunday, December 10, 5:30 am, at Bangsamoro Government Center in Cotabato City. The theme for the event “Kawagib for All: Dignity, Freedom, Preservation of Identity, Peace and Justice” is pursued for the benefit of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) of Maguindanao del sur. 

Registration ragnes from P50 to P100. Cash prizes also await winners from the men and women division. 

You can register online through this link, or visit the following stations:

  • BHRC Regional Office at 1F, Japan ARMM Friendship Hall and Training Center Bldg., Bangsamoro Government Center, Cotabato City.
  • BHRC Provincial Office Mag-Sur at door 6, 2F, Building 2, Al Nor Complex, RH IX, Cotabato City
  • BHRC Provincial Office NCCPO at City Traders Lower Ground, Governor Gutierez Avenue, RH7, Cotabato City 
Engage Media

Engage Media, in partnership with the University of the Philippines Film Institute, DAKILA, Active Vista, Foundation for Media Alternatives, Cinemata, and Computer Professionals’ Union, premieres #TechTalesYouth, a digital rights film collection made by local and international filmmakers on Thursday, December 7, at the University of the Philippines Diliman Cine Adarna.

Human Rights Institute-Commission on Human Rights 

The Human Rights Institute is holding a 75-day campaign from September 27 to December 10 as part of the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 

The celebration of Human Rights Day will also feature competitions that encourage discourse on human rights through different forms of art. Among them are the 2nd Inter-Law School Human Rights Debate Tournament, extemporaneous speech and singing contests. The finalists will be invited to present their performances on Thursday, December 7, at 9 am and 1pm respectively, via Zoom. 

The semi-final and final rounds of the Inter-Law School Human Rights Debate will take place at the Hive Hotel in Quezon City. The date is still to be announced. 

The Human Rights Institute is also holding the 2023 Gawad Karapatang Pantao which aims to recognize government employees and agencies for organizing programs and activities championing human rights. Winners will receive a plaque and a P25,000-cash prize. The awards ceremony will take place on December 10, at the Bulwagang Ka Pepe Diokno, and will be live streamed through their social media pages. 

You may check the Human Rights Institute Official Facebook Page for more information on their 75-day campaign. 

Human Rights Online PH

Human Rights Online PH invites everyone to the 7th Freedom of Expression Regional Conference themed, “Youth Action for Promoting Freedom of Expression in Southeast Asia,” to put weight on the “crucial role young individuals play in advocating for freedom of expression and combatting disinformation.” The two-day conference will happen on December 1 to 2, at the Hive Hotel and Convention Place, Quezon City, and via Zoom.

For online attendance, you can register at this link. There are limited slots only. 

National Council of Churches in the Philippines

The National Council of Churches in the Philippines, through the European Union-supported project “Enhancing Advocacy and Action for Human Rights Defenders at risk in the Philippines,” will hold the 2nd Annual Forum on Human Rights, “KATUNGOD”,  on Thursday, December 7, from 2 pm to 5 pm, at the College of Social Work and Community Development (CSWCD) in the University of the Philippines Diliman. 

The forum is part of the UP CSWCD “Day of Remembrance 2023: Paggunita at Pagtatanghal sa mga Katutubong Tapang at Dangal ng mga Bayani Laban sa Diktadurang Marcos,” which was established in 2018 to honor the members of the UP community who were involved in the resistance against Martial Law in 1972. The commemoration s from September to December 2023. 

National Union of Journalists of the Philippines

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), in partnership with Altermidya, Bulatlat, Concerned Artists of the Philippines, among others, launches Freedom X arts and media festival themed, “Defending Press Freedom, Protecting Human Rights,” on December 2, 2023 at the Palma Hall in University of the Philippines Diliman. 

For those who are interested in setting up a booth/display during the fair, contact Dolly Recto at dolly@nujp.org

Panatang Luntian

Climate justice advocacy group Panatang Luntian is holding their “Ma”K”-alam: Klima at Karapatan” webinar and forum on climate change and human rights on Friday, December 8, from 6 pm to 7:30 pm, via Zoom. It will tackle the “critical connection between human and environmental rights amidst the climate crisis.”

This is held to commemorate the Global Day of Action for Climate Justice on December 9, and Human Rights Day on December 10. Register here to join.

Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates

The Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) launches the #YouthEmerge Human Rights Festival: Raising Voices, Building Futures, featuring several interactive sessions that aim to collaborate and unite the youth to learn, express and shape the world hand in hand. 

Participants can attend the event for free on Thursday, December 7, 5 pm, at Loyola Heights, Quezon City. 

PAHRA is also organizing, “KAPAYAPAAN, KALIKASAN. KABUHAYAN. KARAPAT DAPAT PARA SA LAHAT,” which highlights the urgent call against war and conflict, and ending hostility and violence. The assembly will be held on Saturday, December 9, starting from the Bantayog ng mga Bayani at 8 am, and ending at the Elliptical Road in Quezon City. 

Sining na Naglilingkod sa Bayan

Artist collective SINAGBAYAN will launch “UMAKLAS! Awit ng Paglaya” on Saturday, December 9, from 4 pm to 8 pm, at the Commission on Human Rights Office, Diliman, Quezon City. The organization will also hold a “Free The Artists Press Conference ” at 10 am of the same date before the EP launch.

The UMAKLAS! EP is an effort made by SINAGBAYAN and Barangay Pesante Combo, which aims to support the Free the Artists Movement, an initiative consisting of progressive Filipino artists that aim at aiding cultural laborers. All proceeds from the EP launch will go to this campaign to support Alvin Fortaliza and Amanda Echanis. 

The UMAKLAS! EP is now available for pre-orders through this link:: https://forms.gle/korDFjfCkxb7VzXB7. You may also buy physical copies of the EP on the day of the launch. 

SOS Yamang Bayan Network

Multi-sectoral alliance SOS Yamang Bayan, convened by the Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center, is inviting everyone to its concert fair, “Kung Atin ang Mundo,” which will be held on Sunday, December 10,  from 3 pm to 9 pm, at the University of the Philippines Hotel in Diliman, Quezon City.  

The event advocates #justmineraltransition amid the “growing demand for minerals for renewable energy, laying open critical areas and ancestral lands to more mining.”

The concert-fair will feature artists such as The Ridleys, ACT!, and Jerry Something, among others. 

Entrance to the event is free to the public. 

Tongtongan ti Umili-Cordillera Peoples Alliance

Baguio-based advocacy group Tongtongan ti Umili-Cordillera Peoples Alliance in partnership with several organizations, is mounting a day of protests and performances on Sunday, December 10, starting from 1 pm, in Baguio City. With the theme, “Tumindig para sa Karapatang Pantao, Dignidad, Hustisya, at Demokrasya,” the event celebrates the recent decision of the Baguio City Council to adopt Resolution No. 763, which declares Baguio as an “Inclusive Human Rights City.” 

The schedule of the event is as follows:

  • Session Road for Human Rights: A safe space for art, busking, placard making, and advocacy for rights – 1 pm to 4 pm at Skyworld Junction, Calderon Street corner Session Road
  • March for Human Rights, Assembly – 4:30 pm to 5 pm at the Post Office Park
  • Tindig Karapatan: Solidarity Night for Human Rights – 5 pm onwards at Igorot Park
University of the Philippines Baguio Alliance of Concerned Students

The University of the Philippines Baguio Alliance of Concerned Students, in partnership with the Campus Alliance for Dedicated and Unified Action UPB, invites students to its “MARCH FOR HUMAN RIGHTS” on Sunday, December 10, at 4:30 pm, at the university’s Post Office Loop.

The protest advocates indigenous people’s rights and climate justice, among others. 

We Effect Philippines

Swedish-based development organization We Effect Philippines, in partnership with the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development, Institute for Philippine Cooperative and Social Enterprise Development, among others, invites everyone to the Human Rights Concert 2023. With the theme “Fulfilling the Promise of Freedom, Equality, and Justice,” the concert will be held on Sunday, December 10, at 6 pm at the Liwasang Aurora, Quezon Memorial Circle.

It will feature performances by Pordalab, the UP Repertory Company, Teatrong Bayan ng LUPA, among other artists. The event is free of charge.

Youth for Human Rights International – Eastern Visayas

The Youth for Human Rights International is calling out for participants to join their poster making and spoken word poetry contest, themed “Consolidating and Sustaining Human Rights Culture into the Future.” 

To join, register through the following links:

There will also be a series of workshops on basic photography and filmmaking happening in the morning. 

The whole-day event will be held on Sunday, December 10, from 7 am to 5 pm, at Leyte National High School, Tacloban City. 

– with reports from Joey Alberto and Bless John Esteriaga/ Rappler.com.

Do you know of other events and activities in celebration of International Human Rights Day? Email them to move.ph@rappler.com.

Joey Alberto is a Development Communication undergraduate from the University of the Philippines Los Banos. She is currently a volunteer for Rappler’s MovePH to practice and hone her interests in community and development journalism.

Bless John Esteriaga is a Rappler Volunteer from Negros Occidental. He graduated with a degree in English Language Studies, he serves as an executive head of Akbay La Carlota – Youth, a youth-serving non-political, non-profit  organization in La Carlota City. 

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