Cendaña: Fundamental

FUNDAMENTAL is both an adjective and a noun. As an adjective, it describes something of primary relevance or of central importance. As a noun, it refers to a basic principle, rule, idea or framework on which something is built or based on.

Human rights are often described and referred to as fundamental. According to the preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), "disregard and contempt for human rights resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind". 

Human rights are the foundation of freedom, peace, justice and equality in societies and in the whole world. As stated in Article 1 of the UDHR, it is founded on the fundamental principle that "all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights".

Today is Human Rights Day. 

The United Nations (UN) anchored the international observance this year on the theme "Our Rights. Our Freedoms. Always". The commemoration of this important historic breakthrough is specially made more meaningful by two events in the past few days here in Baguio City.

Human rights are for all. Article 2 of UDHR points out that there should no distinction of any kind such as on the basis of race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. 

Considered as other status in the language of the UDHR is sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (SOGIE). This fundamental assertion of equality is the moving spirit behind the 9th Baguio Pride Parade last December 5.  

With the theme "Out and Proud: One Pride. One Celebration", lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) organizations and allied groups marched in the streets of the city to promote equal rights and respect for diversity. On the same day, Pride Marches were also held in Quezon City and Bacolod City.

The Baguio Pride Parade is of particular interest to the NYC because of the active participation of youth groups. The newly established LGBT students organization University of the Philippines-Baguio Babaylan is one the groups behind the Amianan Pride Council, the organizer of the event.

Article 7of the UDHR mandates that there should be no discrimination. Many young people suffer from stigma and discrimination. These adversely affect their health and well-being. One of the most vulnerable youth sub-groups are adolescent mothers commonly referred to as teenage moms. 

The Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR) has the highest incidence of adolescent pregnancy in the country. To reduce the vulnerability of the many young mothers in the region, the Department of Health (DOH-CAR) held the Teen Moms Congress last December 2 to 3.

More than a hundred young mothers from across the region participated in the activity where their issues and concerns were discussed. Particular focus was given to health and self-care, challenges, and activities to uplift the lives of teen mothers. The participants also gave recommendations on developing interventions to curb the high incidence of teen pregnancy in CAR.

Human rights is not an adult topic, it is a youth concern of fundamental importance.  It is the foundation of youth development and wellbeing. Young people as rights holders should be fully aware of it that they may claim and protect it.

A meaningful Human Rights day to one and all. 


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