Labour rally in Jakarta, Fiji march highlight global human rights issues

How UN agencies strive to put human rights at the centre of their work. Video: UN

Pacific Media Centre Newsdesk

Hundreds of workers from the Confederation of United Indonesian Workers (KPBI) held a protest march at the weekend in the capital of Jakarta and Fiji’s Coalition on Human Rights staged a march today to commemorate World Human Rights Day.

In Jakarta, the Indonesian workers marched from the Farmers Monument in Central Jakarta to the nearby State Palace on Saturday, reports CNN Indonesia.

During the action, the workers highlighted the problems of corruption and the failure to resolve human rights violations.

READ MORE: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights turns 70

“This action is a reflection of the regime that is in power, Jokowi [President Joko Widodo] has failed, particularly in cases of corruption and human rights violations in Indonesia”, said KPBI secretary-general Damar Panca.

The Jakarta rally for human rights at the weekend. Image: Rayhand Purnama Karim/CNNI

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Panca said that during Widodo’s administration corruption had become more widespread as had human rights violations. Trade unions had also suffered human rights violations when holding protests.

Panca said that not long ago during a peaceful demonstration, workers were assaulted and had tear gas fired at them by security forces.

“Not just that, 26 labour activists have been indicted. So we are articulating this now because it is the right moment – namely in the lead up to Anti-Corruption Day (December 9) and Human Rights Day (December 10),” he said.

Social welfare demands
In addition to highlighting human rights violations, they also demanded that the government take responsibility for providing social welfare for all Indonesians and rejected low wages, particularly in labour intensive industries, low rural incomes and contract labour and outsourcing.

Panca said that Saturday’s action was also articulating several other problems such as inequality in employment, the criminalisation of activists and the need for free education.

The KPBI is an alliance of cross-sector labour federations. Saturday’s action was joined by the Indonesian Pulp and Paper Trade Union Federation (FSP2KI), the Cross-Factory Labour Federation (FBLP), the Populist Trade Union Federation (SERBUK), the Indonesian Harbour Transportation Labour Federation (FBTPI), the Indonesian Workers Federation of Struggle (FPBI), the Industrial Employees Trade Union Federation (FSPI), the Solidarity Alliance for Labour Struggle (GSPB) and the Greater Jakarta Railway Workers Trade Union (SPKAJ)

“This action is not just in Jakarta, similar actions with the same demands are also being organised by KBPI members in North Sumatra. In Jakarta they have come from across Jabodetabek [Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi, Greater Jakarta],” he said.

According to CNN Indonesia’s observations, the hundreds of workers wearing red and carrying protest gear continued to articulate their demands from two command vehicles near the State Palace, directly in front of the West Monas intersection.

They also sang songs of struggle and followed the directions of speakers shouting labour demands. The protest was closely watched over by scores of police officers.

Fiji rally for rights
In Suva, Fiji, the NGO Coalition on Human Rights organised a march for today to commemorate World Human Rights Day.

The march will begin at 10am from the Flea Market ending in a rally at Sukuna Park and is the culmination of 16 days of activism against gender-based violence from November 25 to December 10.

World Human Rights Day is celebrated annually on December 10 to mark the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948.

This year is a significant milestone for the UDHR as it marks its 70th Anniversary.

Human Rights Day is a day to celebrate and advocate for the protection of Human Rights globally. Since its launch in 1997, the NGOCHR now includes members such as the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre, Fiji Women’s Rights Movement, Citizen’s Constitutional Forum, FemLINK Pacific, Ecumenical Centre for Research and Advocacy, Drodrolagi Movement, Social Empowerment and Education Program and observers, Pacific Network on Globalisation, Haus of Khameleon and Diverse Voices and Action for Equality.

The Indonesian report was translated by James Balowski of Indoleft News. The original title of the article was “Ratusan Buruh Berunjuk Rasa di Istana, Soroti Pelanggaran HAM”.

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Robredo slams extrajudicial killings, online trolls in Rights Day message

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: Robredo slams extrajudicial killings, online trolls in Rights Day message

Philippine Vice-President Leni Robredo wants Filipinos to stand up to human rights violations being done to them. Image: OVP File

By Mara Cepeda in Manila

On the eve of Human Rights Day, Philippine Vice-President Leni Robredo called on Filipinos to stand up against all forms of human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings in the war on drugs, and the oppression of free speech by online trolls.

This was the message of the former human rights lawyer for Human Rights Day, celebrated worldwide today.

“Ang Araw ng Karapatang Pantao ngayong taon ay hindi lamang pagbabalik-tanaw sa ating kontribusyon sa labang ito. Dapat din nating bigyang-diin ang diwa ng pagdiriwang na ito, dahil sa mga nakababahalang balita tungkol sa malawakang paglabag sa karapatang pantao, lalo na sa mga nasa laylayan ng lipunan,” said Robredo.

(Human Rights day this year is not only a time to remember our contributions to this fight. We should commemorate this day because of the disturbing news on the widespread human rights violations that are happening now, especially against people who are on the fringes of society.)

The Vice-President said Filipinos have experienced cases of human rights abuses in the past year.

“Hinahamon ng kasalukuyang panahon ang bawat isa sa atin na paigtingin ang paninindigan para sa karapatang pantao, sa harap ng pinagdaan ng Pilipino nitong nakalipas na taon. Kasama na rito ang mga extrajudicial killings, ang pagsupil sa karapatang magpahayag, pati na sa social media, at ang kahirapan na patuloy na pumipilay sa milyun-milyon nating mga kababayan,” she said.

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(We are being challenged by the times to strengthen our fight to uphold human rights, in the face of everything Filipinos experienced in the past year. These include extrajudicial killings, oppression of free speech even on social media, and poverty that continues to cripple millions of our countrymen.)

Robredo is a staunch critic of President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody war on drugs, where thousands of drug suspects have been killed in legitimate police operations and vigilante-style killings nationwide.

The Vice-President is also against the tactics of online trolls, who use social media to swarm on critics of the President. Robredo herself has been a longtime target of these trolls and government propagandists.

READ MORE: State-sponsored hate: The rise of the pro-Duterte bloggers

She had called fake news spreaders as “unapologetic,” “arrogant,” and an “insult” to other government officials who do their job well.

Standing up to a ‘bully’
Human rights groups echoed Robredo’s message. The In Defence of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND) and the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) condemned “in the strongest terms” the Duterte administration’s “anti-human rights policies and actions”.

The two human rights groups hit the drug war and Duterte’s declaration of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army as “terrorists”.

They also said the killings of activist priest Marcelito Paez of the Rural Missionary in Nueva Ecija and Datu Victor Danyan of South Cotabato “creates a chilling effect that no one is safe and that anyone who gets in his way will be silenced.

“The President’s utter disrespect towards democracy and rule of law is showing no pretense to exhibit his authoritarian streak by denying the voices of dissent. His government is destroying the generations of progress on the respect and protection of human rights in the guise of war on drugs and terror,” said iDEFEND and PAHRA in a statement.

The human rights groups said they hold the Duterte administration accountable “for the systematic violence against human rights defenders.

“But we all know that a person obsessed with power will never listen. Often the bully takes pleasure in seeing a victim’s fear. The only way to stop a tyrant is by standing up firmly together. The only thing necessary for the triumph of tyranny is for us to do nothing,” they said.

Newly formed group Artikulo Trese even held a fun run and a symposium on extrajudicial killings on Saturday.

“We are people of God –a caring and loving society; shepherds who should take care of our flock, not slaughter them or feed them to the wolves,” said Artikulo Trese convenor Bishop Deogracias Iñiquez.

“Everyone deserves due process, even the most ruthless of criminals,” he added.

Climate change and human rights
Senator Loren Legarda, meanwhile, said it was also important for the Philippines to pursue climate justice internationally because Filipinos’ human rights are curtailed by the negative effects of climate change.

READ MORE: Climate change is the new battleground for human rights

Legarda, chairperson of the Senate committee on climate change, said in her Human Rights Day message that the Philippines must strengthen its demand for the full implementation of the Paris Agreement by 2020.

“We always need to contextualise the discussion on climate change with the issue of human rights. We cannot truly address climate change if we do not recognize the fact that climate change impinges on our very basic human rights, such as access to food, water, shelter, livelihood, and the right to life itself,” said Legarda.

“Compared to industrialised countries, the Philippines barely contributes to global warming, and yet we bear its brunt.

“Every year, millions of families get displaced, thousands of lives and livelihoods are lost, and billions worth of agriculture and infrastructure are damaged because of climate change. It is time that we seek justice for these tragedies,” she added.

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