AI confers De Lima ‘most distinguished human rights defender’ award
Human rights advocate Amnesty International (AI) Philippines has conferred detained Senator Leila de Lima its “Most Distinguished Human Rights Defender” award.
“I am deeply humbled to learn that Amnesty International has chosen me for its first Ignite Awards for Human Rights as the ‘Most Distinguished Human Rights Defender,” de Lima said in a statement on Tuesday.
De Lima added that the award is for all the human rights defenders who “tirelessly fight for the dignity and respect of the Filipino”.
“It is with great honor to receive this latest accolade as recognition for my unwavering stance on human rights despite my continued unjust detention and political persecution,” De Lima said.
“Our shared goals and cooperation only prove that no tyrant can stop us,” she added.
AI announced the recipients of its 1st Ignite Awards for Human Rights on Monday, and will award the winners on Saturday.
De Lima bested four other individuals for the award, including fellow Senator Risa Hontiveros, Ryan Silverio, Nymia Pimentel Simbulan, and Leni Velasco.
Award is a vindication
The opposition senator said that she considers the award a “vindication” from the “politically-motivated charges” filed against her by the current administration.
De Lima, a known critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, is currently detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame, for allegedly presiding over the illegal drug trade in the New Bilibid Prison during her term as justice secretary.
“No matter how influential and powerful those who violate our dignity and human rights are, our strong will and determination will always prevail; truth and justice will always succeed,” De Lima said.
AI said in its website that the Ignite Awards is a recognition of human rights defenders. The organization added that it aims to “bring back prestige to activism and taking action for human rights”.
“The Philippines is in for more challenging times and every day we see people face some of the gravest human rights violations and abuses,” AI said.
“But despite the outrage, we must remain steadfast and inspire ourselves to move forward and continue working for a better human rights future because there are still those who are fighting and giving hope to those whose rights have been violated and neglected,” AI added. /muf
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