The United Nations Philippines sent its sympathies to the bereaved families and friends of Commission on Human Rights (CHR) chair Jose Luis Martin “Chito” Gascon who passed away on Saturday morning due to coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) complications.
“The human rights community in the Philippines suffered a terrible loss. Chito Gascon, chairperson of the Commission of Human Rights passed away. A remarkable human rights defender who played a fundamental role in the setting up of the UN Joint Program (UNJP) on Human Rights,” Gustavo Gonzalez, UN Resident Coordinator to the Philippines said.
In a separate statement, the UN Philippines cited Gascon’s important role in the negotiation of the first-ever national-level UNJP, a critical milestone for the promotion and protection of human rights in the Philippines.
“Chairperson Gascon was fiercely committed to ‘dignity of all’, and outspoken on issues ranging from vaccine equality to protection of civic space. He emphasized that the work for human rights, institutions, rule of law and change is a continuing effort, and he stressed the importance of investment in youth to build a better and more peaceful future,” it read.
“Chito was a visionary, deeply principled, brilliant and brave. I convey my heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and colleagues, including in the Commission on Human Rights and in civil society. He will be very much missed,” it added.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. also expressed grief over the late CHR chair’s passing and described him as a friend.
“We became friends too short; just when we had pulled it off, you, me, (Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra), Gustavo. Why did you have to get yourself infected, my friend,” he wrote.
“Rest In Peace, you’ve earned it very well,” he said in a succeeding tweet. (Joyce Ann L. Rocamora/PNA)