April 5, 2019
The Philippine Centre Canada, in association with the Filipino Students Association of the University of Ottawa, had the honor of hosting Ms. Teresita Quintos-Deles, peace activist and gender equality advocate, at an open forum on Human Rights in the Philippines at the University of Ottawa on April 5, 2019. The forum was held following Ms. Deles’ testimony to the House of Commons at the invitation of Anita Vandenbeld, MP for Nepean-West and Chair of the Sub-Committee on International Human Rights. The Sub-Committee is conducting a study on the gender-specific challenges faced by women human rights defenders from all over the world, working in a variety of fields, including multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination.
At the open forum, Ms. Deles, “Ging”, shared important insights and provided specific examples of the serious violations of human rights in the Philippines such as:
- 27,000 recorded extra-judicial killings targeting the poor, including a number of women and children, carried out in the name of the war on drugs,
- curtailment of press freedom – harassment and threats against investigative journalists,
- persecution of the political opposition and critics of the current administration,
- an erosion of citizens’ protection under the law,
- promoting a misogynistic culture.
As Filipino-Canadians, we are deeply concerned about these violations. We are fortunate to enjoy the freedom to express our human rights and we cherish the protection of these rights by all levels of government. As a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Canadians, including Filipino-Canadians, should be vigilant of human rights violations anywhere around the world, including the Philippines, our homeland.
An election process is currently underway in the Philippines. We urge Filipino-Canadians to use this democratic process to support candidates that uphold human rights.