Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has joined the people across the globe in mourning over the demise of renowned human rights champion and founder of Human Rights Watch (HRW) Robert “Bob” Bernstein.
De Lima, a known human rights defender here and abroad, said Bernstein will always be remembered for his generous contributions to advancing human rights and freedom globally.
“It is with deep sadness that I heard the news about the passing of Mr. Bob Bernstein, a staunch human rights defender and founder of Human Rights Watch (HRW). My deepest condolences to his family and loved ones,” she said.
“Mr. Bernstein’s death is a great loss not just to the HRW family, but also to the global human rights community,” she added.
Bernstein has passed away at the age of 96 on May 27. His son confirmed that he died of respiratory failure.
Bernstein, also a known publisher, devoted much of his life to human rights, a passion that reportedly deepened in the 1970s when he visited Moscow with a delegation of American publishers where he saw limitations on free expression.
His human rights activities earned him numerous prestigious accolades, including the United States’ first Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights, which was presented by President Bill Clinton, and a Social Justice Award from The New Press, to name a few.
De Lima said she believes that Bernstein’s vision and legacy for the causes of freedom, democracy and justice will continue to live in the years to come.
“He will continue to inspire millions of us in protecting victims of abuses and defending dissidents against tyrants,” said the former justice secretary. “Because no matter what our religious beliefs may be, no matter what professions we hold, no matter what our status in society, we are all called upon to respect the value of human rights and dignity,” she added.