AI hails De Lima as Most Distinguished Human Rights Defender

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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima is named as “Most Distinguished Human Rights Defender” by Amnesty International (AI) for her unwavering fight to defend human rights and for opposing the abuses under the government’s bloody war on drugs.

AI, who announced today the awardees for the 1st Ignite Awards for Human Rights, also confirmed that it is conferring the accolade to De Lima and other winners on June 2.

“The Philippines is in for more challenging times and every day we see people face some of the gravest human rights violations and abuses

“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 noted in an official statement.

De Lima, who remains unjustly detained for more than a year now over trumped-up illegal drug charges, bested four other nominees for the Most Distinguished Human Rights Defender – Individual Category award.

Other nominees for the same award include Sen. Risa Hontiveros, Ryan Silverio, Nymia Pimentel Simbulan and Leni Velasco-Bicol.

Aside from the Most Distinguished Human Rights Defender – Individual Category accolade, AI also gave recognition for the Most Distinguished Human Rights Defender – Organization, Outstanding Young Human Rights Defender and Art that Matters for Film.

A staunch critic of the administration’s war on drugs, De Lima has earned the ire of the President for initiating a Senate investigation into the spate of extrajudicial killings in the country in July 2016, thereby raising global public awareness about human rights violations committed against suspected drug offenders.

Despite her unjust detention, De Lima continues to perform her duties by introducing bills and resolutions – which greatly focus on issues on human rights — in the Senate, and issuing policy and political views through her dispatches and press statements.

More so, De Lima continues to reap awards and recognitions here and abroad, including AI’s citation of her as one of the notable “Women Human Rights Defenders Under Threat” in 2017 and TIME Magazine’s inclusion of the Senator as among its list of 100 most influential people in 2017, among many others.

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