By Gabriel Pabico Lalu, October 5, 2023; Inquirer

During the signing of the Joint Memorandum Circular No. 1 on Thursday — which set the guidelines for the 2023 National Human Rights Consciousness Week celebrations — CHR Chairperson Richard Palpal-latoc and CSC Chairperson Karlo Nograles said that this year’s celebration is of higher significance since it coincides with the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

The 2023 National Human Rights Consciousness Week, as mandated by Republic Act No. 9201, will be held from December 4 to 10.

“With the theme ‘Dignity, Freedom, and Justice for All’, let us commemorate the global effort toward protecting, upholding, and promoting human rights as this serve as the most basic of all prerequisites for genuine nation-building, that will usher peace and progress for all,” Palpal-latoc said in his message.

“Together with the entire National Steering Committee for the 2023 National Human Rights Consciousness Week, this Joint Memorandum Circular is a testament to our unyielding stance in advancing values and principles enshrined in the UDHR, affirming the need to recognize, protect, and fulfill the inherent dignity and rights of every human being befitting a civilized society,” he added.

Nograles said that the CSC’s role is to ensure that the theme and activities “will be observed across all sectors, from public to even private institutions, to even the general public”.

“I’d also like to stress the importance or the objectives of our JMC which is the need for our activities to create a deeper understanding of the ideals and principles of human rights, to impress upon the private sector our shared responsibility on human rights, and the applicability of all these principles to all sectors of society,” he said.

The CSC chief explained in an ambush interview after the event that while CHR would take the lead in planning the activities for the 2023 National Human Rights Consciousness Week, they have asked specific agencies to associate human rights with their mandate or field of expertise — like having the Department of Labor and Employment tackle labor rights, and so on.

“So CHR will take the lead in the activities, but we also encourage other government agencies down to their regional offices to also come up with their own agency-specific activities.  Like for example, sa Department of Labor and Employment, we encourage them to do activities that have to do with ensuring, promoting the rights of workers, or labor rights.  So that’s an example,” he said.