First of a series

It is time to appreciate human rights! People have been made to believe that human rights is not good and some governments, even private entities hate those who espouse it. The impact of such perspective is the unimaginable ‘dehumanization’ of persons and peoples with the notion that some are less human than others. Unprotected of rights to freely express one’s thoughts and opinion, to move in and out of a place of your choice, to a fair trial and be considered innocent until proven guilty, are some examples that embolden governments’ to do as they please causing harm to peoples’ lives.

Does human rights really help humanity?

Come to think of it, it’s ironic that human rights are interpreted by most authoritarian governments as often counter-intuitive to to human existence?  Truth be told, the concept of human rights is not a recent invention. The idea that every person deserves to be treated fairly, secure, free from hunger and to express one’s self evolved thousands of years back. It resulted from people taking action against repressive states and their excesses of power and atrocities. These were extra-ordinary struggles and sacrifices that cost millions of lives lost. It doesn’t end there. The cause of human rights is a continuing journey of shared action against the scourge of dehumanization.

Making governments accountable to human rights is just but right.

Yes, it has been that way since. Even as the Magna Carta (1215) and the Petition of Right (1628) were instituted in history, it did little to none about the everyday suffering of the people in Europe which was brought about by the abuses of monarchy or even the church. The United States would not have drafted its Declaration of Independence (1776) and subsequently the US Constitution (1787) and the Bill of Rights (1791) had the people just accepted unfair impositions and curtailment of liberties during the earlier times. Same goes for the French, had they not protested against the extravagances and oppressive rule of their kings and queens, they would not have founded the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen in 1789.

Filipinos, too, have gone through a lot and were at the receiving end of abuses and overindulgences from colonizers and succeeding governments. Had its heroes and nameless martyrs not written about, spoken for and fought against such oppression, there would be no Philippine Constitution with essential provisions about the State “valuing the dignity of every human person and guaranteeing full respect for human rights (Section 11, Article II) and the ‘Bill of Rights’ (Article III) for everyone citizens to benefit from.