The Universal Declaration of the Rights of Peoples is as relevant as ever

By LUIS G. JALANDONI

Member, NDFP National Executive Committee

We live at a time of great hopes and deep despair; a time of conflicts and contradictions … also a time of frustration and defeat, as new forms of imperialism evolve to oppress and exploit the peoples of the world.’ This is what the world was as characterised in the preamble of the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Peoples when it was drafted in 1976. It remains so to this day.

The principles and aspirations expressed in the Algiers Declaration in 1976 are ever more relevant and urgent today. The peoples of the world are still wanting of equal right to liberty, the right to free themselves from foreign interference, the right to national self-determination and choose their own government, the right to fight for their liberation when they are held under subjection and the right to benefit from other peoples’ cooperation and solidarity.

By LUIS G. JALANDONI

Member, NDFP National Executive Committee

We live at a time of great hopes and deep despair; a time of conflicts and contradictions … also a time of frustration and defeat, as new forms of imperialism evolve to oppress and exploit the peoples of the world.’ This is what the world was as characterised in the preamble of the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Peoples when it was drafted in 1976. It remains so to this day.

The principles and aspirations expressed in the Algiers Declaration in 1976 are ever more relevant and urgent today. The peoples of the world are still wanting of equal right to liberty, the right to free themselves from foreign interference, the right to national self-determination and choose their own government, the right to fight for their liberation when they are held under subjection and the right to benefit from other peoples’ cooperation and solidarity.

Thus, it is with great appreciation and admiration that we express our greetings of solidarity to the organizers, speakers and participants in the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Algiers Declaration; to the International League for the Rights and Liberation of Peoples and the Lelio Basso International Foundation for the Rights and Liberation of Peoples for keeping guard so the principles enshrined in that declaration are kept alive in the hearts of people for as long as the reality remains the same as the last 30 years.

As in all neocolonies, the people of the Philippines today suffer a government that sees as its primary obligation the realisation of the dictates of its neocolonial masters, the United States government and the class interests it protects. The government of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, insecure of its legitimacy and devoid of support of the Filipino people, has declared war against the very people it vows to protect. The gravest forms of violations of people’s rights as well as other vicious and systematic attacks on their basic democratic rights are committed allegedly to protect them from terrorist and imagined enemies.. Almost daily, members and leaders of opposition organizations and political parties are murdered, abducted, tortured, and subjected to various forms of harassment,. Hundreds of families regularly suffer from forced evacuations, hamleting and food blockades and other forms of state terrorism.

The Arroyo government has given its full commitment to “free market” globalization, liberalization and privatization as formulated by the U.S.-led WTO. And as any policy that takes the logic of capital accumulation above the interests of people and communities, it has resulted in massive unemployment and underemployment, pushing down ever greater numbers of Filipinos to inhuman levels of impoverishment. These same policies have kept the backward, agricultural and pre-industrial character of the Philippine economy and abet the conspiracy of the local ruling elite of big compradors and landlords with foreign multinational corporations in plundering the natural resources and economy of the country.

More than a century ago the Philippines was invaded by the United States to become its first overseas colony. It has remained so since then. The US has continued to violate the Filipino people’s rights to national self-determination and liberation despite the “grant of independence” sixty years ago. It continues to be the main force behind the Arroyo government’s all-out war policy against the revolutionary movement and the people, which has now been relabelled to come under the auspices of Bush’s global war of terror. In the guise of joint military exercises and military trainings, humanitarian and disaster relief missions and other pretexts, the US military directly intervenes in the country. In utter disregard for the people’s right to national liberation and self-determination, the US has arbitrarily labeled Filipino organizations and individuals as “terrorists” and has encouraged other governments to do the same.

US imperialism stands today as the biggest enemy of the collective rights of peoples all over the world. The conditions that prompted the promulgation of the Algiers Declaration in 1976, continue to this day. The US government, then, was using its economic and military power to conduct low-intensity wars of aggression against the sovereign peoples of Latin and South America, resulting in military fascist regimes as well as sham democratic regimes. Its military adventurism has become even more brazen, unabashedly legitimising pre-emptive attacks, and regime changes, invading countries in the Balkans, North Africa and in the Middle East using the deadliest of its modern war arsenal short of its nuclear weaponry.

It has continuously imposed embargoes against Cuba, North Korea and countries in North Africa and the Middle East, resulting in untold sufferings of the very civilian population that the embargoes purport to protect.

We commemorate the 1976 Universal Declaration of the Rights of Peoples so we are constantly reminded of its continuing significance and relevance Its principles and provisions have to be kept alive for the new generation reared in the myths of “free market” globalization, enthralled by the wonders of modern gadgetry, and oblivious of social issues obligations. It needs to be aroused against the so-called primacy of the rights of global monopolies over human rights and the rights of people, against the arrogant claims of the US to being the master, owner and policeman of the world. The new generation needs to be motivated to develop the same steadfast commitment to promote and defend the rights of peoples against the US and other imperialist powers.

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines and the Filipino people who benefited from the Algiers Declaration and the verdict of the Permanent People’s Tribunal Session on the Philippines in 1980 continue their struggle for national and social liberation. We therefore warmly congratulate and greet the founders of the Algiers Declaration and all the participants in this celebration of its 30th anniversary. It will be another milestone in the Filipino people’s struggle for national and social liberation and one more significant application of the Algiers Declaration when the Permanent People’s Tribunal Second Session on the Philippines will be held on March 21-25, 2007 in The Hague.

With warmest greetings of solidarity and congratulations, on behalf of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines:

LUIS G. JALANDONI
Member, National Executive Committee
National Democratic Front of the Philippines

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