Friday, December 2, 2011

Strengthening our Oneness, Advocating our Rights


As we remember the creation of Human Rights Day on 10 December, 63 years ago this week of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we pay tribute and offer the highest honor and salute to all human rights defenders who sacrificed their life and ask you to take part in the arduous struggle for the genuine fulfillment of human rights for the marginal voices.

This is why, we, the convenors of S.O.A.R or Strenthening our Oneness, Advocating our Rights is organizing a one-week educational caravan on “Promoting Human Rights in the Context of HIV/AIDS, LGBT-Discrimination, Trafficking of Women and Children and Students Rights and Welfare.”

The objective of the activity is to popularize the principles of human rights and applying it in different context like HIV and AIDS, discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI), trafficking of women and children and students rights and welfare.

These topics seem to be different and irrelevant from each other, however, from micro and macro level, they are all interrelated, interdependent, and inalienable. In other words, discussing the issues of students’ rights and welfare hand-in-hand with the issues confronting the rapid increase of HIV cases among young adolescents is more urgent than ever. It also holds true with trafficking of women and children as an important societal issue that should be addressed head-on by all sectors in our society including students and the LGBT or Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Transgender community.

As long as the majority of the Filipino people are deprived of their right to own the land they till or receive a just and living wage, fulfillment and realization of human rights will remain far-fetched. The continued social deprivation of the Filipino people from their basic right to life and living is a good breeding ground for more victims of women and children trafficked and deepening discrimination based on SOGI.

An unjustified increase in tuition and other school fees will surely diminished the hopes of every student from earning a degree; thus, exposing them to issues like trafficking, commercial sex work, and HIV and AIDS.

On the other hand, what is alarming is that, “The Philippines is a source country and, to a much lesser extent, a destination and transit country for men, women, and children who are subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. A significant number of Filipino men and women who migrate abroad for work are subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude worldwide.” (US Trafficking in Persons Report 2011: Philippines)

Hence, the need to strengthen our oneness and advocate for the rights and welfare of everyone because it is our inherent right to do so.

Strengthening our Oneness, Advocating Our Rights (S.O.A.R) A collaborative effort of Bisdak Pride, Inc., Rotaract Club of Metro Mandaue 2006 – SWU Chapter, Student Council Alliance of the Philippines – Cebu, and Good Shepherd Welcome House.(rod)

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