Amnesty International extends our best wishes to all the members of PAHRA in your National Congress this 2012
Despite the high expectations for the improvement of human rights under the presidency of Benigno Simeon Aquino, we continue to face many challenges and obstacles for the enjoyment of peoples of all the rights embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as other human rights instruments.
True, we saw the ratification of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the ratification by the OPCAT by the Philippines recently. Yet we also saw the passage of a law still criminalizing women in prostitution while the pimps were decriminalized. We have an Anti-Torture Law, yet justice for the victims of torture remain elusive. The Reproductive Health Bill has not been passed. The Philippine government is failing in fulfilling with due diligence its obligations on most of the rights codified in the human rights treaties committed to by our government.
The Aquino government is not giving the appropriate attention needed to improve the human rights situation in our country so that the Filipino peoples will enjoy the rights that are rightfully theirs. Your theme "Raising the Bar of Human Rights Defenders" is most significant given the situation we are in, right now.
We have, together worked on some serious human rights concerns that merited our cooperation. We hope that we will continue our collaboration in the future, hoping that our partnerships can better result to human rights impact.
We wish you all the courage, patience and persistence to continue our pursuit of All Human Rights for All.
Aurora Corazon A. Parong, M.D.
Amnesty International Philippines