More global leaders, groups stand in solidarity with De Lima

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Several global leaders and organizations have joined the growing list of international names coming forward to express their solidarity with Senator Leila M. de Lima who recently marked her 1,000th day of illegal arrest and unjust detention.

Among those who recently called for De Lima’s freedom and denounced her unjust detention were international rights groups Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International (AI) and the organization of liberal and democratic political parties in Asia, Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD).

Branding De Lima’s political persecution as “a testament to the Duterte government’s increasing authoritarianism,” HRW said De Lima deserves freedom because she has suffered enough from standing up for human rights in the country.

“The bogus charges against her should be dropped and she should be released immediately,” said HRW.

AI, which earlier cited De Lima as one of “Human Rights Defenders Under Threat,” pointed out that the Senator remains detained solely for her peaceful and legitimate criticism of the Duterte administration, particularly its murderous war on drugs.

“Every day that Senator Leila de Lima spends in detention is yet another day of injustice committed against her. We join human rights defenders in the Philippines and across the world in calling for an end to her arbitrary detention and for her immediate release,” said AI.

In successive Facebook posts about De Lima’s political persecution in time for her 1,000th day in detention last Nov. 20, CALD, for its part, consistently used the hashtags #FREELEILANOW and #1KnotOk.

United States Senator Richard “Dick” Durbin and the Délégation France insoumise au Parlement Européen (France Delegation insubordinate to the European Parliament) took to Twitter and Facebook to rally support for De Lima’s release from detention.

“[De Lima’s] release is long overdue and important for the larger important US-Philippines relationship,” said Durbin, who, along with fellow Democrat US Sen. Patrick Leahy previously proposed an “entry ban” into the US against the senator’s persecutors.

Délégation France insoumise au Parlement Européen said De Lima “has been unfairly locked up” as it lamented that “since President Duterte took office in 2016, political persecution and random prison without proof and without trial have been increasing.”

Prior to their statement of solidarity with De Lima, over 300 leaders, activists and organizations from across the world have also expressed their unequivocal support to the Senator by signing a Statement of Indignation on her unjust and indefinite detention.

Signatories include, among others, members of Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA), to wit: Margaret Cederfelt, MP (Sweden); Victor Bisono, MP (Dominican Republic) Chairperson of PGA International Council; and Petra Bayr, MP (Austria) Treasurer of PGA.

Asian leaders and human rights defenders were also among the signatories, including renowned Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong, Ambassador of Taiwan Maysing Yang and members of the ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights, to name some.

Signature from the members of the European Parliament, French Parliament, and Parliamentary Group Free Democrats, and North American leaders from the Liberal Party USA, Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, and Drug Policy Forum of Texas also signed the Indignation Statement published in a national daily last Nov. 20.

While she may be detained inside the national police headquarters in Quezon City since 2017 on patently bogus drug trading charges filed by the government without any material evidence, De Lima continues to gain support from the local and international communities. (30)

Office of Senator Leila de Lima
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