Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Human Rights Day: Does It Call for a Celebration?

Our celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is accompanied by the celebration of Manny Pacquiao’s victory over Oscar “Golden Boy” de la Hoya at Las Vegas boxing ring, which was described as “like David slaying Goliath”.

Both celebrations have something for the Filipinos. The latter makes us proud to be Filipinos, to be identified with the victorious Pacman. The former, however, gives us a feeling of shame and embarrassment because of the enumerable human rights violations that have remained unexamined, unexplained and unsolved or covered up by events.

We are ashamed, and we hope it is not completely true, that our country is said to be the most corrupt in Asia and the second most corrupt in the world. This is because of human rights violations in various degrees. Does this call for a celebration?

The call of the Season of Advent is one of repentance and conversion. We are not losing our hope: that we could still discover in our midst candidates who are above all honest and truthful, men of vision and integrity, inspiring and competent. We should learn from our past history, and face our future with hope.

Archbishop of Jaro
CBCP President