Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima today expressed deep elation over the latest recognition by the prestigious award given by Amnesty International (AI) as “Most Distinguished Human Rights Defender” on its first-ever Ignite Awards for Human Rights.
De Lima, who is considered as the first prominent political prisoner under the Duterte regime, said she is both humbled and grateful for AI for recognizing her unrelenting fight for human rights, justice and the rule of law.
“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,'” she said.
“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,” she added.
AI, which announced the awardees for the 1st Ignite Awards for Human Rights on May 28, is conferring the accolade to De Lima and other winners on June 2.
De Lima bested four other nominees for the Most Distinguished Human Rights Defender – Individual Category award, including Sen. Risa Hontiveros, Ryan Silverio, Nymia Pimentel Simbulan and Leni Velasco.
The Senator from Bicol said she considers the latest accolade as a “vindication” from all the politically-motivated trumped-up charges filed by the Duterte administration to taint her integrity as a staunchest critic of the government’s bloody war on drugs.”
De Lima likewise thanked AI for its unrelenting efforts to promote and protect human rights even as she expressed her openness to further work with the organization in fighting and advancing the causes for human rights, democracy and the rule of law.
“Our shared goals and cooperation only prove that no tyrant can stop us. 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,” she said.
De Lima, who once served as chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights, said she offers the award to all her fellow human rights defenders who tirelessly fight for the dignity of, and respect for the Filipino.
Even from her detention quarters at the Philippine National Police-Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City, De Lima continues to receive awards and citations from various organizations and leaders here and abroad who call for her swift release.
Prior to this latest award, De Lima was also recognized by Foreign Policy magazine as one of the leading Global Thinkers for 2016 and 2017, by Time Magazine as one of 100 Most Influential People, one of the Icons, for 2017, by Fortune Magazine as 39th World’s Greatest Leader, and by Amnesty International as one of the notable Women Human Rights Defenders in 2017, among others.