In line with the commemoration of International Human Rights Day today (Dec. 10), minority senators have urged the Senate leadership to be at the forefront of fighting for human rights and protecting the Filipino public from human rights abuses.
In filing Senate Resolution (SR) No. 970, they called on their colleagues to take the lead in upholding the values and principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR) and the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.
“As one of the 48 State Parties to the UDHR, the Philippines has an obligation to respect by refraining from interfering with or curtailing the enjoyment of human rights, to protect individuals and groups against human rights abuses, and to fulfill by taking positive action to facilitate the enjoyment of basic human rights,” she said.
The Senate resolution was filed by Senators Leila M. de Lima, Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino, Risa Hontiveros, Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV, and Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon.
In 1948, the UDHR was adopted by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in Paris, which later passed a resolution designating December 10 of each year as International Human Rights Day to commemorate the day the UDHR was adopted.
In a message for its 70th anniversary, De Lima noted the UDHR was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly as “a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to be promoted by education, and, more optimistically, by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance.”
“The rights enshrined in the UDHR uphold the same basic liberties and the same freedoms provided under our Constitution, particularly in the Bill of Rights,” they said.
Aside from the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the UDHR, the senators noted that “it is also this year that world is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders (HRDs), which provides for the support and protection of human rights defenders in the context of their work.”
They underscored the need for their fellow senators to continue drafting legislative measures aimed at protecting the rights of the Filipino people.
“The Philippine Senate has been faithfully affirming and supporting the principles and rights provided under the two Declarations, as embodied in its legislative work and legacies throughout the years,” they said.
“In consonance with our state obligation towards fulfillment through positive action, the Senators of the Seventeenth Congress have been at the forefront of promoting human rights through filing, passage, and adoption of key rights-based legislative measures,” they added.
The senators further noted that, “members of the Philippine Senate commit to continue performing their constitutional duty to craft and prioritize legislative enactments which will affirm and promote the principles and values of the UDHR and the Declaration on HRDs.”