By BENJIE OLIVEROS
Human rights is a very important issue for us in Bulatlat. We have written about the life of each and every victim of human rights violations. We tried to provide the context by which these violations are being committed by describing the life and struggles of the victims, the organizations they belonged to, and the advocacies they were involved in.
We believe that one killing or one abduction or one torture is one violation too many. We believe that human rights defenders should be honored and their rights respected and not be targets of attacks by those who seek to silence the truth and to impose their will on the Filipino people. And we believe in the inextricable link between human rights and democracy.
A progressive writer Naomi Klein in her book Disaster Capitalism said that the commission of torture, or any human rights violation for that matter, is a manifestation that the state is implementing an anti-democratic project. Let us bring this further: wherever impunity in human rights violations prevails, there is no genuine democracy.
It is unfortunate that in the official discourse about democracy, especially after the blatantly undemocratic, anti-people Arroyo administration, the Aquino government has been talking about its anti-corruption drive and transparency in governance, even as it refuses to urgently pass the Freedom of Information bill but has pushed for the Data Privacy Act and the Cybercrime Prevention Act. But glaringly absent in its discourse is the question of impunity in human rights violations. In fact, Pres. Benigno Aquino III has been ignoring cases of human rights violations even if it is already staring it in the face. And when pressured to respond, the Aquino government simply skirts the issue. It created its so-called “superbody” only after it has been pressured by the international community to address the impunity in human rights violations.
So does democracy exist in the country under the Aquino government? For as long as impunity reigns, it does not. In this situation, democracy could only be given flesh in the struggle of the people for national sovereignty, genuine democracy and human rights, and social emancipation.