On International Human Rights Day, detained Senator Lelia de Lima urged Filipino youth to use their voices to speak the truth and stand up against injustices to inspire change as violations against human rights continue all over the world, including the Philippines.
"I call upon you to open your eyes to the truth. Inform yourselves about the issues that matter. Seize every opportunity to get involved in social causes," De Lima said in a statement released Tuesday.
"You are never too young to speak truth to power. Defend the victims of injustice. Stand up for human rights for your sake, and that of the generations to come," she added.
This was a sentiment shared by Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan who said that the year's celebration of human rights were focused on the youth, citing activists in Hong Kong, the 16-year-old environmental activist Greta Thunberg, and Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto as examples.
"[W]e are reminded of these young voices [...] often at the forefront of advocating issues such as equal rights, sustainable future, jobs, and fundamental freedoms to speech, assembly, and association," Pangilinan said in a separate statement.
"Let us celebrate our young people not only because they are our hope for a just and peaceful society, but also because at an early age, they are already making strides in the promotion of democracy, equal rights and participation, freedom of expression, and sustainable development," De Lima, meanwhile, said.
She also called on the Filipino people to protect the youth from abuses and to make sure that they are heard "to ensure that they can actively and consistently participate in social causes."
The opposition senator noted that a comprehensive report confirmed that 74 children were killed in the administration's campaign against illegal drugs while 32,000 were left orphaned as of December 2017.
Due to this, De Lima called for efforts among FIlipinos and government to "address the gaps in our commitment to uphold every child's right to grow up with security and happiness."
The International Human Rights Day also coincides with the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which is a document proclaiming the rights individuals are entitled to as human beings, on December 10, 1948 by the United Nations General Assembly. — Joahna Lei Casilao/BM, GMA News