AIPh and AIZ Conduct Human Rights Initiatives in Zambo

Zamboanga City – IN a bid to mobilize and boost the group’s membership, Amnesty International Philippines (AIPh) in coordination with Amnesty International Zamboanga Group (AIZ) organized a week of human rights activities in the city recently.

The national secretariat organized an orientation including giving the basics of human rights work for local AI members and other youths. Facilitators for the seminar were Francis Marcial and Karla Oda.

The seminar was held at the Hotel Perlita last March 12. Fifteen students from different universities attended. Participants learned basic human rights orientation and how Amnesty International works

Amnesty members and officers of the Zamboanga Group as well as the national secretarial held a radio talk show on March 13 entitled “AI Talk on RX” at RX 93.1 (FM Station) with DJ Ethan

Jepie Papa (Development and Human Rights Education Coordinator), Darlene Gela (Indigenous Peoples Rights and Mining Project Coordinator), Karla Oda (AIZ -Campaigns Committee Head) and Francis Marcial (AIZ- Education Committee head) discussed Amnesty International’s work as well as campaigns and advocacies for the year 2008.The radio program highlighted the Human Dignity Campaign, specifically the project on indigenous people’s rights and introduction to the Safe School for Girls Project, which will be launched in Zamboanga in June

The group also made visits to Social Awareness and Community Involvement (SACSI) office of Ateneo de Zamboanga University and Peace Advocates Zamboanga for networking and possible collaborations.

The group also drafted its plans for the year 2008, which will be presented in the annual general meeting this coming April . The global campaigns and country action program are priorities identified by the AI movement and the projects are carefully selected to attain local and global impacts.

AIPh in tune with the global campaign for human dignity started preparing itself to address poverty through discussions on economic, social and cultural rights (ESCR) as well the rights of indigenous peoples affected by mining in Western Mindanao region.

Around 33 participants comprising of Subanen tribal leaders and members from different parts of Zamboanga del Sur attended the Indigenous Peoples Rights Seminar at Claret Lay Pastoral Center last March 9-12. The three-day seminar was a venue for discussions on the preservation of the environment, focusing on mining and its impact on the Subanen way of life. The rights to culture, self-determination, to participation, to security, development, to property and religion and also discussed.

“AI is responding by saying that human rights are universal and indivisible. Economic, social and cultural rights are human rights that AI must work on together with civil and political rights. Even responsibilities of non-state actors, including corporations, need AI’s attention,” says Aurora Parong, director of AIPh. This is the impetus for preparing for the dignity campaign and the project on corporate responsibility was initiated, she added.

On the second day, a press conference was held and local media interviewed the Subanen leaders including Timuay Nanding, who represented the group in Geneva, Switzerland.

As AI addresses the need for human rights education as a tool for great change, a training on monitoring and documentation of indigenous people’s rights was held in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay last year. Twenty-seven participants from different parts of Zamboanga del Sur representing different organizations like GUKOM, Ummah Fi Salam, AIZ , PBS and SAC –SAM Kabasalan attended . The seminar trained indigenous peoples to learn the value of documentation in their advocacy work and preservation of their rights.

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