Campaign for Human Rights
2010 culminates with HR programs, 2011 kicks off
with German HR Commissioner Visit
Two months of programs on various topics concerning human rights,
including those on provocative issues such civil and political
rights, and reproductive health, capped the Friedrich Naumann
Foundation for Liberty (FNF) Philippine Office 2010 activities.
Opportunely, these activities will be followed through with a
public forum with the German Commissioner for Human Rights Policy
Markus Löning in Manila on 21 January 2011.
IAF Replication Seminar on Human Rights: Civil and Political
Every year, FNF Philippines replicates a program of the International
Academy for Leadership (IAF). IAF is the training institute of
FNF in Germany. On November 21-24, 2010, a seminar on Civil and
Political Rights was held in Cebu. In partnership with the IAF
Alumni Group and the University of San Carlos (USC) College of
Law, a three-day activity was organized and attended by 30 human
rights advocates coming from different sectors - NGO and civil
society workers, law practitioners, academicians, media and government
Human Rights Issues Examined
The Ateneo Human Rights Center (AHRC) with the support of FNF
held a series of fora leading up to Human Rights Day. Four meetings
were organized to discuss relevant issues and educate the public
on their rights and their role to safeguard these for their individual
selves as well as for the community.
Search for a Common Ground: Religion, State and the Reproductive
The Reproductive Health Bill was deliberated before an audience
of 250 people composed of religious groups, civil society organizations,
and students on 26 November 2010.
The impressive line up of speakers spoke about how their respective
religions and institutions viewed reproductive health rights:
Ms. Amina Rasul-Bernardo, a Muslim and the lead convenor
of the Philippine Council for Islam and Democracy
Bishop Rodrigo Tano, President of the Philippine Association
of Bible and Theological Schools and Chairperson of the Interfaith
Partnership for Responsible Parenthood
Bishop Leo Alconga of the Jesus is Lord Movement
Fr. Joaquin Bernas, S.J., renowned constitutionalist and
Dean Emeritus of the Ateneo Law School
Sister Helen Graham of the Maryknoll Sisters
Rep. Kaka Bag-ao of the Akbayan Party List, and
Dr. Alberto Romualdez, former Secretary of the Department
of Health and Vice President of the Forum for Family Planning
and Development, Inc.
“While they did not necessarily give the stance of their
religions as regards the reproductive health bill, they gave
the audience a clearer picture of how reproductive health rights
figured in different religions,” said Atty. Ryan Quan,
AHRC Internship Director. It was acknowledged that while there
is no single version of the reproductive health bill in the
lower house of Congress, the movement for passing a regulation
is getting stronger. The importance of reproductive health rights
was highlighted, not only as regards women’s rights issues,
but also in terms of population control and its impact to development.
It was also pointed out that more than ensuring the future generations’
right to life, their right to a quality life must be given attention.
The need for transformative justice was emphasized at a forum
on 01 December 2010. The “culture of patriarchy, corruption,
and impunity” was identified as hindrance to the efficiency
of the judiciary. “The disregard for the rule of law,
indifference to gender sensitivity, and lack of concern for
human rights have often caused miscarriage of justice and has
led to the public’s dwindling trust on the judiciary,”
noted Atty. Adoracion Cruz-Avisado, a former judge and the author
of book The Intertwining Culture of Patriarchy, Corruption and
Impunity: Journey in Advocacy for the Transformation of the
Justice System, which was launched at the forum.
Atty. Avisado underscored the need for truth seeking amidst
the corruption in the justice system in the Philippines. “Justice
has become a commodity, and how this has made the fight for
justice even more difficult, if not futile. Corruption must
be addressed in order to slowly bring back the people’s
trust in the justice system,” she said.