“The world is watching”, LI president reminds Duterte as Prize for Freedom awarded to Leila De Lima in Manila

Senator Leila De Lima, imprisoned since February 2017 on fabricated charges, has been awarded the 2018 LI Prize for Freedom at a special ceremony in Manila, the Philippines.

In a show of solidarity, LI president Dr Juli Minoves and LI deputy president Hakima el Haite, attended Sen. De Lima’s court appearance during which a long list of politically-motivated charges were read out. LI’s two most senior elected bureau members were able to speak directly with Senator De Lima ahead of the proceedings, during which they assured the detained liberal that “the global liberal family stands with [her].”

the global liberal family stands with her.

Amid a flurry of press interest throughout the two-day programme, international delegates and representative of the Liberal Party of the Philippines (LI full member) were able to meet and hear the harrowing testimonies of the wive and orphaned children of Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte’s so-called ‘war on drugs.’ Estimates of those killed vary but police figures estimate a number over 20,000 people.

The awarding ceremony saw Leila De Lima’s brother, Vincente, receive the Prize on her behalf from the LI president. “Senator De Lima’s struggle, her sacrifice, is not solely a Filipino matter, nor is it even an Asian matter. Leila’s cause transcends petty political rivalries and regional nuances; she personifies humanity’s shared aspiration for universal human rights and it is that we are awarding Leila the Prize for Freedom in this 70th anniversary-year of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”, said the LI president.

In the days leading up to this award, nearly 60 liberal politicians and human rights defenders from 6 regions of the world — Africa, Asia, Europe, Middle East, North and South America — were moved to sign a statement calling for the immediate release of the senator.

LI President Dr Juli Minoves’ speech to the awarding ceremony guests can be read here.

We are here, not only to give this award to Sen. Leila de Lima, but to tell the Filipino people that we are here to support you in the name of Human Rights. - LI Deputy President: Hakima el Haite
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