November 21, 2017 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

AI lauds de Lima in new report

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL (AI) has cited detained Senator Leila M. de Lima as one of the notable Women Human Rights Defenders in a new report this year.

“In the Philippines in February 2017, Human Rights Defender Senator Leila de Lima, a former justice secretary and former chair of the Philippine Commission on Human Rights, was arrested on politically motivated charges,” the 46-page report entitled Human Rights Defenders Under Threat said.

“Since leading an investigation by the Senate into President Duterte’s violent ‘war on drugs,’ which has claimed over 7,000 lives since July 2016, Senator De Lima has been subjected to a targeted campaign of misogynistic attacks and character assassination by the President and his allies,” the report added.

AI, a Nobel Peace Prize awardee, described Ms. De Lima as a “prisoner of conscience” for having been “deprived of liberty solely for her political beliefs and for peacefully defending human rights.”

This is not the first time AI has been involved in Philippine issues, as it earlier brought to world attention the human-rights abuses of the Marcos dictatorship in the 1970s.

Ms. De Lima thanked AI for recognizing the struggle of women human rights defenders.

“I’m a human rights defender under threat. And so Amnesty International (AI) has aptly acknowledged in its latest global report on a class of selfless workers and advocates called human rights defenders,” the senator said in a dispatch from Crame. No. 86 where she is detained on drug charges.

Recently, Ms. De Lima filed Senate Bill (SB) 1438 or the Women in State Custody Act of 2017 which seeks protection for female detainees. -- Jil Danielle M. Caro