Justice, peace not possible without human rights

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MANILA, Dec. 10, 2012—A Church official has lamented the unabated human rights violations in the country and called on the faithful to remain steadfast in working for a just society.

Jaro Auxiliary Bishop Gerardo Alminaza said justice and peace are not possible to achieve unless the rights of people and the environment are respected.

“The current human rights situation show that as a community, we have been remiss in respecting the dignity of our neighbors and the integrity of creation; and if this continues, justice and peace would be impossible to achieve,” he said.

Alminaza asserted that “the unabated human rights violations in the country are fundamental breaches of the laws of God and the teachings of the Church.”

He made the statement Monday, as the world commemorates the 64th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Universal Human Rights Day.

The bishop expressed alarm on the rampant killings of anti-mining advocates who fight against large-scale mining in the country.

Recently, the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), have condemned the continuing human rights violations in the country under the Aquino government, particularly cases of extrajudicial killings of human rights defenders.

Alminaza, who is also head convenor of Visayas Clergy Discernment Clergy group, is at the forefront of the urban poor’s struggle for just labor practices and decent housing.

Among the violations of human rights inflicted on the poor and marginalized, the Jaro auxiliary bishop cited cases like union busting, contractualization, and many other oppressive and anti-labor practices that are rampantly being practiced in the Mactan Export Processing Zone and many other factories in Cebu.

He also mentioned the demolition of urban poor households in Barangay Luz, in Cebu City without the local government providing proper relocation for displaced families.

In Aloguinsan, he said, farmers are faced with uncertainty as the lands they have been tilling for years are being claimed by a rich landed family.

The local government’s reclamation project in Cordova, he added, also poses a threat on the livelihood of the local community who depend on fishing for their livelihood.

There is a plan to build golf courses and five star hotels in the reclaimed area, but Alminaza said such “will surely wipe out the livelihood of poor fisherfolks in the area, and will destroy seagrass beds and the ecosystem of corals connected to the double-barrier reef of the Danajon Bank in Bohol.” (CBCPNews)



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