De Lima thanks Asian women leaders for support

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Senator Leila M. de Lima today thanked the Women’s Caucus of the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD) who visited her in her detention and pledged to fight with her against the continued spate of extrajudicial killings in the country.

De Lima, a known human rights defender, said she is grateful for the overwhelming support she has received from groups like CALD who trust her amid efforts of the Duterte administration to tarnish her reputation.

“Despite the relentless attacks and outright lies thrown against me by the evil Duterte regime to destroy my dignity and womanhood, I am grateful that many people have expressed and continued to vouch for my integrity,” she said in a Dispatch from Crame No. 146.

Last Aug. 31, convenors of the CALD Women’s Caucus visited De Lima to check on her condition as a “prisoner of conscience” and discussed with her the deteriorating human rights situation in the country.

The delegation was composed of Lead Convenor Jayanthi Balaguru, along with former Chair of the Hong Kong Democratic Party Emily Lau and Maysing Yang, vice president of Taiwan Foundation for Democracy

Though it was their first meeting, De Lima said she was able to relate with the women leaders from CALD easily, given that they are fighting for the same cause: to put an end to violence and abuses.

“I’m very grateful for their very warm and gracious words of encouragement and support. I don’t know them personally, and though it was our first time to meet, I easily felt from our discussion that we are kindred spirits–women who uphold human rights and value democratic principles,” she said.

In an interview with the media after the visit, convenors of the CALD’s Women Caucus’ Council condemned the unjust incarceration of De Lima by the vindictive President and called for her immediate release from detention.

“The rule of law is one of the pillar systems of a democratic country. We believe that Senator De Lima should be given a fair and just trial and she should be released as soon as possible and she should be allowed to carry on her public duties,” Balaguru noted.

“We want to send a message to President Duterte that he should respect the rule of law and if there is credible evidence let them present it in court and let her come out and represent her people in the Senate,” Lau added.

Balaguru and Lau further expressed condemnation on the brazen killings in the country that have claimed over 12,000 lives since President Duterte launched his all-out war on drugs.

The women leaders also urged the local community to come forward and show their solidarity with De Lima.

De Lima, a former justice secretary, said she believes that justice will catch up with Duterte, who encourages EJKs in the country, and his minions, in due time.

“Try as they might to cover up their abuses and vilify human rights defenders, but the world is watching and cannot be fooled,” she said, noting the overwhelming support given to her by several individuals and various groups who refuse to turn a blind eye on the injustices happening in the country.

Even before the CALD visit, various international organizations have already visited De Lima to show their support for her and called for her release from detention.

De Lima received members of the Inter-Parliamentary Union last May, and a 12-member delegation of the European Union and Liberal International members together with the representatives of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF) Philippines on July.

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