Musings from a hopeful: a commitment to witness in the Philippines
Many times, I have encountered the phrase “hope springs eternal” from colleagues and fellow advocates since I started working with church people, peace advocates and human rights defenders. This seems to be the rally cry for peace advocates who faithfully remain committed to achieving a just and lasting peace and human rights defenders who risk life and limb to amplify the people’s call for justice.
At first, I thought, it was an abstract concept, just a mantra to say when things get so terrible, the injustice is difficult to explain in simple terms. But then, I realized they are consoling words for victims and those working for social justice alike.
In the course of the work we do at EcuVoice in the Human Rights and Gender Rights Project, it was definitely challenging with the combination of the worsening human rights crisis, the profound vulnerability faced by people due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Government’s criminal neglect to address it properly.
Witnessing the hardworking partners and the synergy among the many people in the convening organizations of EcuVoice – human rights defenders, church people, lawyers, victims of rights violations and their families, peace advocates, among others – I found that hope and compassion, although abstract, are common driving forces which keep us going.
Despite the difficulties in implementing activities, partners both in the national offices and regional chapters brave through unfavourable conditions to hold activities and deliver services to beneficiaries and rightsholders with paramount consideration to their safety and security, using creative means and modalities. It is this fervent hope that keeps EcuVoice staff and partners in the service of those who are considered the least, the lost and the last. This creativity and the resilience of the social justice movement in the Philippines will forever be unwavering and will remain committed to serving the people.
We continue to adapt and push back amidst the anguish of seeing firsthand injustice. We will continue to honor the memory of those who we had the pleasure of working with who have become victims themselves of the relentless state abuses of our rights and dignities. The voices of those kept in the dark, those being silenced will be heard as hope does spring eternal.
Written by Em Mijares, Project Coordinator, Human Rights and Gender Rights Project, Ecumenical Voice for Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines (EcuVoice)