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Current Campaign: Human Rights in the Philippines - Leila de Lima

“Our mission will never, in truth, be completed because the moment we stop fighting is the moment that tyrants regain their foothold. The moment we let our fire die out is the moment we let darkness reign again.” (Leila de Lima)

Sutton Coldfield Amnesty International group has adopted Leila de Lima as its latest Prisoner of Conscience and is campaigning for her release.

Philippines Senator Leila de Lima has long been a critic of the country’s current president Rodrigo Duterte who has received international condemnation for his human rights abuses. Senator de Lima has frequently spoken out against Duterte’s self-styled ‘war on drugs’ which has resulted in thousands of extra-judicial killings in his presidency

Under previous presidencies, prominent lawyer de Lima was appointed firstly as Chair of the Philippine Commission on Human Rights and then as Secretary of the Department of Justice, where she investigated the activities of well-connected drug pushers.

As a senator, she campaigned against Duterte’s violent war on drugs but in February 2017 was arrested for supposedly violating the drug trafficking law – her charge featuring testimonies from those same drug-pushers she had jailed. In March 2021 one of three charges against her were dropped as the prosecution were unable to demonstrate sufficient evidence.

De Lima remains in custody, officially Duterte’s first political prisoner, and has been designated an Amnesty Prisoner of Conscience. The international human rights charity campaigns on behalf of prisoners of conscience: people who have been unjustly imprisoned because of who they are or because of their beliefs and who have not used or advocated violence.

In 2018 Amnesty Philippines gave de Lima, who remains an elected senator, the Most Distinguished Human Rights Defender Award. The organisation has also called for de Lima’s unconditional release.

The Sutton Coldfield group has ‘adopted’ de Lima as its prisoner of conscience and is campaigning on her behalf. In recent years the group, along with other Amnesty International groups worldwide, has successfully campaigned for the release of prisoners of conscience in Myanmar, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan.

We continue to

  • send messages of solidarity to Senator de Lima
  • write letters, requesting her unconditional release, to officials in the Philippines
  • highlight the case with local MPs

If you would like to join us in support of Leila de Lima please contact usYou can also download the appeal letter, sign, date and post to the address at the top of the letter. It is recommended that you add your address but this is optional.

Thank you for your support

Appeal March 23.docx
Appeal March 23.pdf
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