Press Release
May 18, 2017

De Lima recognized as Global Woman Human Rights Defender

Senator Leila M. de Lima was recently recognized by Amnesty International (AI) as one of the notable Women Human Rights Defenders who continue to protect human rights.

In a 46-page report entitled Human Rights Defenders Under Threat, AI cited De Lima, currently detained for trumped-up drug charges by the Duterte regime, as one of the women defenders who continue to uphold human rights, despite the vicious gender-based attacks against her.

"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 report read.

"Since leading an investigation by the Senate into President Duterte's violent 'war on drugs', which has claimed over 7000 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.

According to AI, women human rights defenders face forms of gender-based violence in addition to the attacks other human rights defenders might face, including sexual violence, and threats, harassment and defamation campaigns linked to their status as women.

The human rights organization has previously denounced the arrest of De Lima as politically motivated, calling her a "prisoner of conscience" for being "deprived of liberty solely for her political beliefs and for peacefully defending human rights."

For her part, De Lima thanked AI for recognizing the plight of women human rights defenders, noting that her actions that lead to her detention come with the territory of doing what needs to be done in upholding human rights in the country.

"AI has once again brought out the human rights situation in our country, which I continue to condemn. By giving emphasis to the misogynistic attacks in their report, the human rights organization recognizes how low this regime can get in silencing its critics," she said.

"This regime can send its most vicious hatchet men against me, but I refuse to be silenced on the human rights situation in the country. Down to my last breath, I will continue opposing this bloody regime," she added.

Prior to this citation, De Lima, who continues to oppose Duterte's bloody war on drugs, was also recognized by Foreign Policy magazine as one of 100 leading Global Thinkers for 2016, and by Time Magazine as one of 100 most influential, one of the icons, for 2017.

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