Thursday, June 02, 2011
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Jun 2, 2011) – “To freedom,” hailed a huge crowd of peace and human rights advocates as they raised their drinking glasses at a plaza in Zamboanga City in the southern Philippines to join the largest human rights organization, Amnesty International, in celebrating its 50th anniversary on May 28.
They also made a ‘Global Call for Action’ to tip scales against repression and injustice during a ‘Toast for Human Rights’ concert here.
“Fifty years ago, a big number of individuals wrote to the President of Portugal seeking amnesty for the two students who were imprisoned simply because they toast for freedom. Because of such overwhelming concern from people in different countries the students were set free.”
“British lawyer Peter Benenson who urged his friends to appeal to the Portuguese government together with other letter senders later gathered and realized that a simple joined action can change people’s lives. So, Amnesty International began,” said Francis Marcial, Board member of Amnesty in the Philippines.
Marcial said that the celebration is a look back at Amnesty’s impact that brought change to lives of people and to reflect how human rights advocates can bring further change through their own actions. He added that Amnesty made great contributions to human rights in the Philippines.
“AI is one of the organizations who inspired the prisoners during Marshal Law to be hopeful and never stop. AI worked for the abolition of death penalty in the Philippines. In Zamboanga City, students from Ateneo de Zamboanga University and Zamboanga Arturo Eustaquio College now Universidad de Zamboanga gathered signatures passing the Juvenile Justice System Bill. These are few of the impact that Amnesty and its supporters made here in our country. Human rights advocacy indeed is meaningful,” explained Marcial.
The concert featured local Zamboangueño artists Moeracquels Band, Aprodite Jumica Sencio, Jelimar Masdal, New Soul Band, Top Dogs Zamboanga, Tone 2 Band, DJ Busted, 21st BAND, Pageboys, Dancing Bodies, Guyz N Flizicks, 10 Sexy Bordz, Jeremiah Saavedra, Ray Paulo Cahulugan and the Zamboanga Hermosa Chorale and part of the simultaneous celebration of Amnesty Philippines.
Similar events were also held at Luneta Park in Manila and Quezon Park in Dumaguete City, and 60 other countries as well.