By Hannah Torregoza
Opposition Senator Leila de Lima on Thursday called on the Senate leadership to immediately act on a pending measure aimed at upholding human rights bills that seek to reduce social, economic, and political inequalities in the country.
De Lima said such moves can be the Senate’s contribution to the global celebration of the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) this year.
“I urge my colleagues to take a serious look at these pending measures as our humble contribution to the global campaign of raising awareness about the importance of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 70 years ago,” she said.
“The clamor for a human rights regime resonates not only in the Philippines, but also elsewhere around the world where the principles of human rights are undermined, and the defenders of human rights are harassed and incarcerated,” she added.
De Lima directed her call, in particular, to Sen. Richard Gordon who chairs the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights so that the country’s human rights agenda would move forward.
She said Gordon can start by scheduling a hearing on the legislative measures long pending before his committee.
“I call on Senator Gordon to take this special opportunity of pushing for important measures aimed at advancing the cause of human rights in the country. I’m confident he will heed growing clamor to push forward these pending bills,” she said.
The Philippines, as a signatory to the UDHR, ratified eight core human rights treaties and six optional protocols, along with many other key human rights and humanitarian conventions and treaties.
The detained senator noted that as founding member of the United Nations Human Rights Council since 2006, the Philippines has been sitting as member for consecutive terms from 2007 to 2010 and from 2011 to 2014.