Human Rights advocates, CSOs in Zambo commemorate Day of Nonviolence

ZAMBOANGA City (October 4, 2013) —The Regional Human Rights Commission (RHRC) together with civil society organizations in Zamboanga City held a program at Sta. Maria Freedom Park on Wednesday in commemoration of the ‘day of nonviolence’ which has been celebrated worldwide.

The celebration also coincided with the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi of India who dedicated his life to his countrymen in fighting for freedom and defending their civil rights.

During the program, Atty. Algamar Latiph of RHRC gave a short background about a-day of nonviolence which he emphasized that violence should not be tolerated in any forms.

Also in the program invited was Father Angel C. Calvo, CMF of the Peace Advocates Zamboanga (PAZ) wherein in his short message he said that, “The symbols we are missing today is that what Mahatma Gandhi did in the history to remind us again human beings that we might get another ways of solving our conflicts.”

“Violence is still unfortunately very much rooted in the hearts, minds, and processes of our community to confront other sectors, and for that, we need to ask forgiveness in front of our God,” Fr. Calvo lamented.

He further said that violence has no place in the heart of a believer.

“The challenge for me is education for peace, how we commit ourselves today not only advocate but to educate, we need  a new mind and culture that really put peace not only in words or song but  in the heart of the people to invade their enculturation of peace that all our decision in life, the socio –economic, political, cultural, and religious consideration on how we are able  to confront the real problems that we have [faced] as human being, to live in a peaceful way.” he continued.

Police Inspector Jezril C. Kinang of Zamboanga Police Office said that every individual must understand, respect each other’s religion, culture, and individual differences for a lasting peace in Zamboanga City.

The group of Human Rights Defenders also graced the event. They gave their supports in denouncing the violence act committed by any individuals.

Zhulfikar Samsaraji, UNYPAD Zamboanga City Chapter President, said, “The Human Rights defenders were very active in doing documentation and research about human rights violations occurring here in Zamboanga City in connection with the violence that began on September 9 by partnering RHRC, MinHRAC, and other human rights groups.”

“This occasion reminds individuals that violence is not the solution in any problems and it only worsens the situations,” he added.

“Violence could have been avoided if we just engaged in sincere dialogues, understanding, and talked about peace and settled the problems before it became a violent one because, at the end of the day, it is always the civilians to suffer its consequences,” he stressed.

“We sympathized over innocent civilians who became victims of the conflict during the Zamboanga crisis,” Samsaraji furthered.

He also said that the leaders must look into or primarily consider the general welfare of the civilians, not just their own vested interests,” he added.

The program was conducted in the morning participated by the PNP personnel of Region IX, Media network, representatives from ARMM government, and Civil Society Organizations like MinHRAC, Darul Ifta Region IX, Task Force Detainees of the Philippines, Mata, GCCPA, Gawad Kalinga, Peace Advocates Zamboanga, UnYPhil Women, Young Moro Professional Network, Bantay Bayanihan, Center for Bayanihan Dialogue, and the United Youth for Peace and Development Inc. (UNYPAD).

After the speeches, each participant reaffirmed their commitment for non-violent approach by writing a short message to the ‘freedom wall’ in support to international day of nonviolence. (UNYPAD Zamboanga City Chapter)