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Atty. Cecilia Jimenez gives her talk on Internally Displaced Persons. Photo courtesy of Hadji Balajadia

Davao Peace Fair Forum tackles Human Rights issues

In observance of the International Day of Peace, the University Community Engagement and Advocacy Council (UCEAC), Center of Psychological Extension and Research Services (CPERC) and Ateneo Migration Center [AMC], in partnership with Humanitarian Organization for Peace Engagements, had taken charge and organized Davao Peace Fair 2017.

The forum was held in the Finster Auditorium of Ateneo de Davao University on September 11, a very significant date for Peace and Security as it memorializes the 16th-year anniversary of the atrocious 9/11 bombing.

In light of the current events in Marawi City, this year’s United Nations Celebration of International Day of Peace in Mindanao wishes to focus greatly on the plight of IDPs or Internally Displaced Persons.

“Who is an IDP? A person or group of persons forced or obliged to flee their homes or habitual residence due to armed conflict, generalized violence, human rights violations, natural disasters and development projects,” Atty. Cecilia Jimenez, one of the discussants, informs the crowd.

The talk proper was cut into three parts and had greatly emphasized the need for the trifecta of Human Rights: Respect, Safety, and Dignity.

“Davao Peace Fair 2017 Forum wishes to first: to achieve a more informative merit or end that stakeholders, not only in Davao but also in Mindanao, will be informed of the plight of the IDPs. Which is the focus—the main concern—of the United Nations Celebration of International Day of Peace. Their plight,” shares Psychology professor Hadji Balajadia

“Second, we wish that forum such as that will also achieve a transformative end. That means that it will form social conscience and out from the formed social conscience, they will be able to act in light of what they know about the current situation. Particularly in Mindanao today. Specifically, what is happening in Marawi,” he added.

According to Balajadia, the forum does not only wish to inform and transform. More than that, it wishes well to be able to encourage and influence the student body of AdDU to participate in issues outside the confinement of the university.

“The challenge, however, for our students is to, not only to immerse itself on these issues, but really to respond concretely on these issues of peace and security. Because when we talk of peace, it seems to me that some students are not only apathetic, they find it as a negligible issue because they are away from Marawi. They are so privileged because they are in these gated walls of the university. [But] it still does not dawn on them that such issues of Peace and Security impact the lives of everyone.”

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