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THE POWER OF TRUTH-TELLING

UNHRC resolution a global record of what is happening in PH

/ 05:02 AM July 18, 2019

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution vote happened just after a survey showed President Duterte still enjoying popular support among Filipinos.

The government will predictably use this to whip up an “us against them” public perception to justify its aggressive rejection of the examination of the war on drugs that is to follow.

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Absent in all these news are the families of victims of enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings who have been traumatized, threatened and silenced with fear of retaliation.

Many of them still live in communities that agree with that survey. For them, the UNHRC resolution may not impact their daily struggle to survive the aftermath of their loss nor provide actual justice to their loved ones (still the job of our own government).

But the probe offers concrete proof that they are not left behind, that someone out there listened and believed them and are supporting their cause for justice.

For human rights advocates, the possibility of reprisals is real. The foreign affairs secretary officially put the whole weight of the ruling power toward “far-reaching consequences” against these so-called traitors to the flag. The President’s supermajority in all branches of government, as well as his spin doctors in media, have three more years to do it.

But they should expect human rights defenders to stand their ground because they hold history in their hands. It is the history of the Filipino people who fought for centuries against war, oppression, tyranny.

It is also the history that the international community remembers and, with the UNHRC resolution, chose to link arms with. For countries that voted against the resolution, it is the history they fear.

The UNHRC resolution stands as a global record of what happened here, a testament to the enduring power of truth-telling and international solidarity.

For the thousands of enforcedly disappeared, tortured, imprisoned, sexually assaulted and/or slain Filipinos, including human rights defenders, that is our peoples’ legacy worth fighting for.

NIZA CONCEPCION

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Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates

Quezon City

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TAGS: drug war killings, Iceland resolution, Inquirer letters, Niza Concepcion, Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates, Rodrigo Duterte, UN Human Rights Council
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