May Forever: Human Rights Commission Calls for Constant Vigilance



"We are all for a just and humane Philippine society where everyone lives a life of dignity. We have to eternally seek the truth, and be forever vigilant against human rights abuses," said Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chair Chito Gascon.

FNF Philippines organized two planning meetings with the CHR to discuss the current human rights situation in the country. There are currently two contradictory understanding of human rights: as protection from and an excuse to commit abuse. CHR's mandate is to prevent and investigate human rights violations. While it does not have prosecutory powers, it is an amplifier of human rights concerns ensuring that they are addressed.

As evidenced by recent political trends, most countries now lean toward utilitarianism, where actions are considered right if they are for the benefit of a majority, and continue to drift away from democracy. "We cannot expect democracy to take root in South East Asia if we do not protect, defend, deepen them in countries like the Philippines that gave birth to democracy. What happens in the Philippines will impact the entire region," explained Gascon who was a student leader during the EDSA People Power Revolution.

The war on drugs in the Philippines has alarmed a number of countries worldwide. "The first casualties in the campaign against drugs are human rights and rule of law. We have to go back to basics, and simply recognize that human rights are inherent in everybody," commented FNF Philippines Country Director Wolfgang Heinze.