For a 'human rights culture': Group launches children's rights comic book
MANILA, Philippines – A comic book chronicling human rights is the latest in a series of efforts by groups to counter vilification and threats under the Duterte administration.
The Philippine Human Rights Information Center (PhilRights), on Wednesday, February 5, launched Batang May K! which tackles children’s rights and the government’s obligations to fulfill and protect them as guaranteed by the 1987 Philippine Constitution. (READ: Things to know: Human rights in the Philippines)
According to Nymia Simbulan, PhilRights executive director, the book is a “humble contribution” to the overall campaign on education and building of a human rights culture in the Philippines.
"Ang layunin nito ay maipalaganap ang konsepto at prinsipyo ng karapatan ng mga bata at for them to be able to internalize a human rights culture wherever they are (The goal of this is to spread concept and principle of children's rights so they'll be able to internalize a human rights culture)," she said.
“If we start educating our children early on the human rights culture, madadala nila ito sa kanilang paglaki, paglaot sa lipunan sa iba't ibang larangan, at pag-mature (They will bring the lessons to them through adulthood, when they join different fields, and when they mature),” Simbulan added.
The comic book is a collaboration between PhilRights and Makô, a progressive art collective, which hopes that the type of medium used would contribute to the better understanding of human rights, among others.
The concept of human rights has been under siege since President Rodrigo Duterte took office in 2016, with him openly attacking groups and activists who criticize his government policies, including the drug war. (READ: Human rights: How to deal with Duterte, the biggest challenge?)
For children, from children
The group drew inspiration from the experiences of children affected by President Rodrigo Duterte’s violent drug war, which has left thousands of orphans since 2016.
“What also triggered us to come out with this material is because of our interaction and engagement with orphaned children, those whose families have been victimized by the so-called war on drugs,” Simbulan said.
"Hindi po biro ang bilang ng mga batang naulila, natraumatize, na-discriminate dahil doon sa kampanya (The number of orphaned, traumatized, and discriminated children because of the campaign is serious)," she said.
Human rights groups have consistently highlighted that the effect of the campaign and other abuses under Duterte go beyond the killed drug personalities. (READ: Duterte's drug war pushes victims' families deeper into poverty)
Data shows that more than 6,000 suspected drug personalities were killed in police operations alone, while human rights groups estimate the number to reach almost 27,000 to include those killed vigilante-style. (READ: The Impunity Series)
According to Simbulan, groups who are interested to receive physical copies of the comic book may directly contact PhilRights.
"We attempted to explain children's rights in the simplest method – drawings, pictures, and even through the messages," she said. "I hope that we will able to be successful in getting our messages across through this material." – Rappler.com