21st Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council
Item 10: Technical Assistance and Capacity Building - General Debate
Thank you, Madam President. FORUM-ASIA makes this statement in association with the Solidarity for Asian People’s Advocacy Task Force on ASEAN and Human Rights (SAPA-TFAHR), and we call on this Council to pay due attention to and provide comprehensive advisory services for the development of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD) which must uphold universal human rights norms and standards. We also urge the ASEAN Foreign Ministers, who are to meet tomorrow on 27 September in New York, to critically revisit the current draft AHRD, ensure that it includes the full spectrum of human rights, and adopt a clause that explicitly precludes any interpretation of the AHRD as impairing the UDHR and the core human rights treaties to which ASEAN member States are party.
Madam President, we express our concern at the significant flaws in the draft AHRD version of 23 June 2012. Firstly, article 7 attempts to bring back the discourse of “Asian Values” by stipulating that “the realization of human rights must be considered in the regional and national context”. This runs contrary to the spirit of the 1993 VDPA which stated that “it is the duty of States, regardless of their political, economic and cultural systems, to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
Forty years since the imposition of Martial Law by President Ferdinand Marcos, still all the victims of those dark years of repression and gross violations of human rights are not accounted for. The denial that there are violations of human rights, particularly Marcos’ statement that “no one but no one has been tortured”, is perpetuated to this day.
Until today, there is no disclosure of the whereabouts and fates of the involuntarily disappeared, of the perpetrators of massacres, extra-judicial killings, torture, rape and other gross violations of human rights during that period.
Everyone, from President Benigno Aquino III down to the most miserable of the victims of military rule, feels strongly that the teaching of the martial law period in the country’s history should be institutionalized.
But how to go about it is something that divides educators, historians, social activists, human rights advocates and lawmakers.
For Education Secretary Armin Luistro, students should not be told straight out that martial law was good or bad, they must make that decision for themselves.
In fact, he said this was the new direction that the Department of Education (DepEd) is adopting in teaching about that 14-year period when the dictator Ferdinand Marcos imposed martial rule, taking for himself all the powers of the state and arresting and jailing everyone who opposed him and even those who he only thought were opposing him. There was the dreaded Preventive Detention Authority.
Alyansa Tigil Mina Statement on the Remembrance of the 40th Anniversary of the Declaration of Martial Law
In remembering the 40th anniversary of the declaration of martial law, Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) is in solidarity with all the victims, their families and the activists who resisted, struggled and mobilized against the dictatorship. As we honor the heroes who fought martial law, we also remember and honor the environmental heroes and martyrs who fought against destructive largescale mining.
It was political repression then, and it is environmental and ecological genocide now.
With the growing list of extra judicial killings related to mining and the destructions it has caused to the environment, the mining industry is perhaps one of the main abusers of human rights, particularly of the rights of indigenous peoples. The destruction brought by mining also deny people their basic rights for food, safe and comfortable lives, water and the right to selfdetermination for IPs.
As the nation remembers today the declaration of Martial Law and the imposition of the Marcos fascist dictatorship 40 years ago—we recall not only the crimes and abuses , but the valiant struggles of our people to end the tyrannical regime.
Today is a day of remembering, so that we will not forget this dark chapter in our nation’s history and will not allow it to happen again.
Today is a day of reckoning, as we continue to pursue justice and redress for countless victims of Martial Law abuses, including crimes and legacies that continue to hound and harm our nation and people.