Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima joined the international community in celebrating the 73rd anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which is instrumental in making the world today safer, more humane, and more just.
In her message on Human Rights Day (Dec. 10), De Lima urged the Filipino electorate to vote for candidates who will put human rights in the front and center of their platform come 2022 national elections.
“Next year, we will be facing another crucial fork in our path: the elections. Let us continue to be wary about those who falsely believe that discarding human rights will improve public order. Let us choose a leadership that will put human rights in the front and center of its platform,” she said.
“Gaya ng panawagan ko noon pa man, at patuloy kong ipapanawagan at ipaglalaban: Tama na ang pagkamanhid! Tama na ang dahas! Tama na ang patayan! Sa susunod na taon, iboto natin ang Karapatang Pantao. Iboto ang Katotohanan. Iboto ang Hustisya. Iboto ang Demokrasya. Iboto ang maka-Pilipino at tunay na nagmamahal sa Pilipinas,” she added.
Born from the havoc of the Great Depression, World War II and the Holocaust, 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.”
It is celebrated annually on Dec. 10.
De Lima, a social justice and human rights champion, said this year’s theme, “Reducing Inequalities, Advancing Human Rights,” is indeed very timely especially considering that inequalities—whether political, economic and cultural—have worsened, especially in the Philippines.
“This is highlighted even more by the current regime’s culture of violence and impunity and bungled pandemic response, where the disparity and divide between the rich and the poor, the minority and the powerful, has been more glaring and cogent,” she said.
Amid adversity and challenges, De Lima said she is proud at how Filipinos have shown unity and concern for each other through community efforts in different ways possible.
“Mabuti na lang, sa bawat hamon at pagsubok, laging tumutugon ang mga Pilipino upang bumangon at bigyang lakas ang isa’t isa.”
“Sa kabila ng kawalan ng sapat na ayuda at makatarungang serbisyo, umusbong at umalab ang bayanihan na ipinamalas sa mga community pantry, mga community kitchen, at iba pang pagkilos na nagpatingkad sa diwa ng bolunterismo upang punan ang mga pagkukulang at kawalan ng malasakit ng administrasyon,” she said.
“Ang ganitong pagdadamayan at pagbubuklod ng taumbayan ay panawagan sa gobyerno na gumawa ng mga konkretong hakbang upang tugunan ang di-pagkakapantay- pantay at pahalagahan ang buhay at dignidad ng mamamayan,” she added. (30)