By Northern Dispatch
Posted by Bulatlat.com
BAGUIO CITY – “While riding on a motorcycle, I noticed that someone was tailing me. I could not recognize him. I went inside many alleys but I was still being followed. I decided to leave my motorcycle to a friend and then rode a jeepney for my security.”
This is an excerpt from a sworn statement made by a leader of a peasant organization in Cagayan. The sworn statement is the result of a workshop on making reports and affidavits. At least 62 leaders from all over Northern Luzon participated in the training on protective skills and measures for human rights conducted last May 20-21.
The training sponsored by the Katinnulong dagiti Umili iti Amianan, Inc (Kaduami) aimed to equip leaders from the people’s organizations with skills and measures to ensure their safety and protection from violations especially in these times of repression.
People’s organizations and non-government organizations nationwide have witnessed the intensification and indiscriminate human rights violations under the Arroyo administration. Leaders of people’s organizations have become victims of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances.
Kaduami adheres to the United Nations declaration that those who promote and strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms have the right to be protected from violations of these rights. The training was made possible through a grant under the Defending the Human Rights Defenders Program of the Alternative Law Groups with support from the Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands.
The training was facilitated by the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance and the staff of Kaduami. The participants received inputs on the national and regional human rights situation, Basic Human Rights Orientation, UN Declaration of Defending Human Rights Defenders. Apart from the Philippine Constitution, rights embodied in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other United Nations declarations and protocols were studied. Of special interest are the indigenous peoples’ rights and the rights of people to genuine development.
The training also had workshops on documentation of human rights cases, what to do in case of violations and standard operating procedures on human rights cases.
In the workshops, the participants who were themselves victims of human rights violations were quick to make the assignments. At some time in the performance of their duties as leaders of the people’s organizations they have been harassed or intimidated. The established community measures eased the impact of repression on people’s organizations but these have to be strengthened and more members should be informed of their rights.
It was emphasized that a people aware of their rights and how to uphold them are better protected. The training provided the participants more skills to combat human rights violations in their areas. In the closing session, three sub-regional dialogues with support groups among church people and lawyers was planned for this year. (Northern Dispatch/Posted by Bulatlat.com)