As it celebrated its 34 years of service last Wednesday, May 5, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) vowed to pursue relentlessly its mandate of promoting human rights and probing violations.
It declared its mandate is not hampered by the difficulties and restrictions brought about by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Instead of being weighed down by the pandemic, the CHR – in its Facebook post – said it was able to remain steadfast in promoting human rights by using alternative methods to reach the masses and the most marginalized members of society.
Last December, it said it launched its “Tanggol Karapatan Online” or E-lawyering service, which provided real-time legal advice to citizens on their rights through the use of smart technology.
Through E-lawyering, people were given immediate legal aid, legal education, and policy recommendations, it said.
It cited that online jail visitations were likewise conducted, and its regional offices continued to probe human rights violations on the ground.
“Dito nasubukan ang dedikasyon ng Komisyon para sa pagsulong ng dignidad ng lahat at higitan pa ang kakayanan para pagsilbihan ang masa sa kanilang karapatang mabuhay, maging malaya, pagkakapantay-pantay, at seguridad, (Here, the Commission’s dedication to the advancement of the dignity of all and its ability to serve the masses with their right to life, liberty, equality, and security was put to the test),” it stressed.
The theme of CHR’s celebration this year was called “Paghilom Mula sa Pandemya, Pagsulong ng Karapatang Pantao, at Paglaban para sa Dignidad ng Lahat!” It underscored the many challenges against human rights that the CHR is dealing with in the midst of a global pandemic.
“Ang tatlumpu’t-apat na taon na pakikibaka para sa karapatang pantao ng Komisyon ang nagbigay ng lakas para sa suungin natin ang mga hamon na dulot ng krisis ng COVID-19, (The Commission’s thirty-four-year struggle for human rights has provided the impetus for us to face the challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis),” it said.
It then enjoined the Filipinos not only to help celebrate their 34th milestone, but also to pay tribute to the Filipino masses, mass organizations, non-government organizations, and its foreign partners in the advancement of human rights.
The CHR is a constitutional office that was set up on May 5, 1987 through Executive Order No. 163.
Among other things, the commission “is mandated to conduct investigations on human rights violations against marginalized and vulnerable sectors of the society, involving civil and political rights.”