AAA and human rights

The American Anthropological Association made a commendable stand on the human rights situation in Honduras. The AAA commited to push the Obama administration on the following points:

1. Acknowledge and condemn the human rights violations that have been committed by the de facto government in Honduras since the June 28, 2009 coup d’ etat;
2. Give support to progressive forces in Honduras striving to create a real democracy and provide support not received from the international community;
3. Work with allied countries to find a peaceful and democratic solution to the ongoing crisis in Honduras; and
4. Join other Latin American countries in withholding recognition of individuals selected in a subsequent election held November 29, 2009

The resolution’s approval reveals AAA’s commitment to an engaged and reflexive anthropological practice. Social scientists should not just stand idly by, record observations, and do “fieldwork” as if imprisonment and political persecution happening in their research area are mere chapters in a book project.

AAA has set a good example for other anthropological associations who are mired in political paralysis due to paeans to “scientific objectivity” and “disciplinary boundaries,” or too dazed in the ultra-relativizing impact of the postmodernist critique.

When the Maguindanao massacre happened, some Philippine social science associations refused to make a stand because the issue is “beyond the purview of the discipline” or, worse, stayed mum just because. One prominent archaeologist implied that the issue–the deadliest in our electoral history–is for journalists to cover and not a concern for archaeologists.

Though I am not a member of AAA, I am hoping that US-based anthropologists, whose research interest is in the Philippines, will bring the dismal human rights situation in my country for AAA discussion–more so, in the light of the recent illegal arrest of the Morong 43.

Free the Morong 43

To know more about the Morong 43 issue, please click here

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