October 18, 2004 (BALITANG BETERANO By Col (Ret) Frank B. Quesada, Former Senate Committee Secretary Veteran and Military Pension Associate, PMA ‘44)  This subject matter has been a contentious and disputable ever since it was adopted by the United Nations – likewise was being compelled by the U.S. as its cornerstone of worldwide imperialism.

It was even an instrument of American foreign policy, albeit unevenly, as an ethical tradition. Since former Pres. J. Carter had used it as an ethic and political power. Domination of policy thru power tradition did not eliminate ethical concerns.

“Human rights include not just basic rights of due process, together wit political freedoms, but also the rights of each human being to a just share of the fruit of one’s country’ production.” I can not help but reproduce excerpts of our toil in the XIVth International Conference on Social Welfare and Human Rights in Helsinki, Finland in 1969 – when and where I was a delegate to this challenging world conference. This subject again came to light as we, World War II war veterans had been deprived of human rights right here in the U.S.A. after we have shed blood and others have died for freedom. democracy and human rights in a war not inherently our own, but of the U.S. imperialism.

The subject of human rights needs to provide new synthesis of what this nation know about it and how to practice it evenly sans deviation. As it was, we (veterans) have been victims of the very rights we upheld in the battlefield under irrational implementation. Deprivation of human rights and economic rights – have led Vladimir Bukovsky, a well-known Soviet dissident thinking that what use it is to introduce and make people practice human rights. He said, “What sense was there in expounding our laws. It was like expounding humanitarianism to a cannibal.”

I can not find any plausible excuse for the U.S. to mistreat the Fil-Am WW-II veterans under the despicable Rescission Act of 1946 passed in the 79th Congress that unjustly took away all wartime-earned compensation and benefits (except for disability and burial entitlements). If peace is to be secured in this world, we must admit that then worst enemy of man is man himself. And as long as we have never overcome the crisis spirit, lusts of men for power, wealth, fame – peace will be as illusive as ever. Not to leave out thirst for black gold (oil) as the instrument of political and economic domination.

Government and men can not adequately respond to the passing and current global dilemma. For simple veterans like us who luckily survived the iron heels of the enemy as POWs, and those who have seen the face of the enemy in combat – the price of peace is more costly than life itself . It has always been said that we human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. We believed that we have been endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in he spirit of brotherhood. Albeit - has been absent between man and government in this country. Especially if one’s color and creed is not white. Under the whiteman’s burden – the power of making distinction leads to difference in unfair treatment and/or favor. Nothing could be more distinct and separate than how public servants who are supposed to be the servants, and the citizen taxpayer as the master – has been reversed.

What we have taken up in the Helsinki XIVth International Conference in 1969 – was crystal clear for the layman and government. We have enumerated the civil and political rights of man, as follows: 1) Right to life, liberty and security of a person, including freedom from slavery an servitude, Freedom from torture or cruelty. Inhuman and degrading treatment of punishment. 2) Right to recognition as a person before the laws. 3) Right to an effective judicial remedy, freedom from arbitrary arrest, detention and exile. 4) The right to a fair trial and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal. 5) The right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, freedom from arbitrary interference of privacy, family home or correspondence an freedom of movement . 6) Right to an asylum. 7) Right to nationality. 8) Right to marry and found a family. 9) Right to property. 10) Freedom of thought , conscience, and religion. Freedom of of opinion and expression. 11) The right of association and of assembly. 12) The right o take part in government and the right to equal access to public service.

Social, Economic and Cultural Rights: 1) Right to Social Security 2) Right to work. 3) Right to rest and leisure 4) Right to a standard of living adequate for health and well-being. 5) Right to education. 6) Right to participate in the cultural life of the community. Disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted to barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind. Based on the findings of the international conference, that based on the series of agreements over that in principle recognized the primacy of these rights over the prerogatives of national sovereignty. As in the case of the Fil-Am WW-II veterans, the soldier is entitled to the respect (regardless of his color, origin and creed) for his essence as a person, and to a degree of humanitarian ism – in war and in peacetime. Especially after having served loyally and honorably for the State. It was articulated in the conference that there is a limit in to national objectives even when the nation saw its goals as important to use violence or force, there are limits beyond which the individual could be legally ordered to kill and be killed for his State.

The law for human rights remain in favor of the war veterans – and their rewards are preserved for their sacrifices of life and property for the State. The concrete example is the case of the Fil-am W-II veterans defrauded by government of their battle-earned rights and privileges (compensation and benefits) defrauded by government for avidity. As far back in 1926, the Convention then, outlawed slavery. It was supplemented in 1950. The present running truculent act of government in the mistreatment of the Fil-Am WW-veterans for non-full settlement of the war veteran’s battle-earned compensation and benefits which lasted over 60 years, is clear example of slavery. Without full equity payment of their rightful benefits is plain and simple act of having made the Fil-Am WW-II fight American’s imperial war against Japan under “involuntary servitude” by the Fil-Am veterans (an act of slavery in any language and deed) abhorred by the U.S. Constitution, and by the decent American citizen-taxpayers.

Humanizing human rights here in the U.S. is the greatest challenge for the nation that takes pride in propagating human rights world-over. But in reality – is very much existing in the form of racial an economic discrimination. Rhetoric and reality are so far apart, that atrocities exists and a blatant violation of the United Nations Charter. What is so troubling is for over 60 years, the government perpetuated a sloven policy prevented individual rights with impunity. There was no shame nor sensitivity.

Secretary of State, George Marhsall have explicitly said, and I quote: “ Governments which systematically disregards the rights of their own people (the U.S. included) are not likely to respect the rights of other nations and other people, and are likely to seek their objectives by coercion and by force .” The prevailing question is – “How can the U.S. honestly speak abut human tights here at home. Without first respecting the individual rights of its own military service men it denies their benefits bare facedly with painful consequences upon its own citizens and allies? In conclusion, culmination of American effort to fight terrorism within and abroad can not be denied that it fully depends on its military might – its contentious domestic and foreign policy.

However, it will always encounter difficulties precisely because of its difficulties of its treatment of different agrupation of citizens of color and origins. Legitimacy of its implementation of human rights within depend increasingly on protection of human rights for every citizen regardless of color, origin and creed. This nation that have denied citizen’s human rights calls to question its own national security and homeland defense.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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