Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima is named as one of the Women Sheroes of 2018 for her extraordinary fight to defend human rights and for boldly challenging the Duterte administration’s inhumane policies that promote violence and killings.
The RINJ Foundation (RINJ), a Canada-based private, non-profit association of humanitarians listed with the United Nations, made the citation in recognition of the women “who smooth the path of humanity for a future of innovation, opportunity & safety of children and their families.”
“Hardly a day goes by when Ms. de Lima is not in the news, challenging the murders in the Philippines. [S]he is a known critic of the thousands of extrajudicial killings of mayors, clergymen, activists, homeless, poor, and drug users by the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte,” RINJ said.
“In February 2017, days after garnering international awards for her campaign against extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, she was arrested. She has been imprisoned without bail since 02/2017,” it added.
Last January 1, RINJ published its list of prominent and empowered women who continue to inspire thousands of people globally, especially women and children, for their work principles, and advocacies.
The women who shared the Women Sheroes of 2018 recognition with De Lima include US Senator Elizabeth Ann Warren, General Motors CEO Mary Barra, and Huawei Technologies Chair Yafong Sun, among others.
Several political prisoners and human rights defenders like De Lima also made it to RINJ’s list of seven Women Sheroes of 2018, including Huawei Technologies CFO Sabrina Meng, Muslim rights advocate sraa al-Ghomgham and Saudi women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul.
The RINJ described De Lima not just as a “Filipino lawyer, human rights activist, senator and law professor” but also “an extraordinary human rights defender.”
It noted that “her successor critic, a Senator Trillanes recently dodged imprisonment on a similar attempt by the sitting President which failed,”
Notably, the RINJ, which comprises of humanitarians – such as nurses, midwives, medics, EMS workers, doctors, lawyers, among others – has a mission not just to prevent rape and sexual assault crime but also to assist the survivors of these crimes and help them attain justice.
Despite her unjust detention, De Lima continues to receive awards and recognitions here and abroad, such as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the world in 2017 by the Time magazine, one of the leading Global Thinkers for 2016 and 2017 by Foreign Policy magazine, Most Distinguished Human Rights Defender for 2018 by Amnesty International, and one of Fortune Magazine’s World’s 50 Greatest Leaders among others.
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