COTABATO CITY—The National Human Rights Consciousness Week celebration in the Bangsamoro region concluded on December 7 with a powerful call for universal respect and equality.
The Bangsamoro Human Rights Commission (BHRC) led the annual celebration, observed from December 4-10 in accordance with Republic Act No. 9201, signed on April 1, 2003, by then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
This year’s celebration carried the theme: ‘Kawagib for All: Dignity, Freedom, Preservation of Identity, Peace, and Justice,’.
BARMM Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim mentioned that the celebration of human rights consciousness serves as a reminder to foster a culture of respect, understanding, and empathy for the fundamental rights and dignity of every Bangsamoro.
“Decades of public unrest in our homeland have heavily impacted the human rights of every Bangsamoro. That is why this celebration, which aims to raise awareness, reminds us of our duty to advocate for and promote human rights,” the Chief Minister said.
He added, “We have been the subject of human rights violations, and because of that, in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, our collective responsibility and commitment to promote and protect human rights have become even more significant.”
Ebrahim further reiterated, “Let us be a reminder that it is our shared duty to Allah, to fellow countrymen, and to every Bangsamoro to protect our constitutional rights and let us continue working towards a Bangsamoro where the ideals of dignity, freedom, preservation of identity, peace, and justice flourish for the benefit of all in the Bangsamoro.”
Citing the accomplishment of the BHRC, Chairperson Atty. Abdul Rashid Kalim emphasized not to forget the sacrifices of the Mujahideen who fought to protect and battle for every Bangsamoro’s land territories and defended human rights.
“Kung meron man dapat na tawaging human rights advocates ng Bangsamoro, walang iba kundi ang mga Mujahideen and Mujahidat especially yung mga leaders natin ngayon who still stand and fight for the right of the Bangsamoro,” Atty. Kalim said.
[If there is anyone who should be called human rights advocates of the Bangsamoro, it is none other than the Mujahideen and Mujahidat especially our current leaders who still stand and fight for the right of the Bangsamoro.]
The Chairperson added, “We must always remember their existence and struggles for us to have the Autonomy and freedom we have in the present, because without them, there will be no peace process, no ARMM, no BARMM, and no Bangsamoro Human Rights Commission.”
“Let us be the advocates for the voiceless, champion the preservation of our dignity, build a peaceful environment for the next generation, and be the defenders of those who face persecution,” the Chairperson urged.
Meanwhile, in their statement of support delivered by their representative, both Senior Minister Abunawas Malamama and Maguindanao Del Norte Governor Abdulrauf Macacua congratulated and commended the BHRC for its significant milestone and achievements and recognized the commission’s continuous commitment to promoting, protecting, and defending the human rights of every Bangsamoro within and outside the region.
Highlights of the event include the unveiling of four major milestones of BHRC such as Gender and Development Ombud Guidelines, Children Ombud Guidelines, Basic Human Rights and Islam, a Human Rights Education Manual, and the Calendar for Fiscal Year 2024 Gregorian/1445-1446 Hijra.
This also includes the presentation of achievements; interventions of human rights violations of the commission; and awarding of plaques of recognition to different humanitarian partners, Civil Society Organizations, groups, and individuals both in government and non-government organizations with their unwavering contributions that played a significant role in supporting and achieving the commission’s goal.
The event further announced the winners of the BHRC’s Calendar Layout Design Contest and Interschool Debate Competition and concluded with the Symbolic Signing of Human Rights Pledge of Commitment Wall. (Kasan Usop, Jr./BIO)