Amnesty names De Lima, DAKILA as Most Distinguished HRDs



28 MAY 2018

Amnesty International Philippines on 28 May, on the occasion of its movement’s 57th anniversary, formally announced the recipients of its Ignite Awards for Human Rights – an award, first of its kind, given to Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) to recognize the impact brought about by their work in changing peoples’ lives through policy advocacy, mobilization and activism.

“We live in very challenging circumstances for justice and human rights, with battles over natural resources, rising inequality, increasing movement of people within and across borders, ongoing crises and conflicts, and unlawful actions by states against its citizens. Despite these, people always come together in solidarity with the help of individuals and organizations who are in the forefront of our fight for our rights,” said Ritz Lee Santos, Board Chairperson of Amnesty Philippines.

Amnesty opened the nominations publicly shortly after it launched Ignite Awards in 2017, and took a year to process all the finalists. Ignite Awards for Human Rights has three categories – Most Outstanding Human Rights Defenders for Individuals and Organizations, Outstanding Young Human Rights Defender and Art that Matters.

“We are very lucky to have a prestigious set of Board of Judges for two rounds of awarding seasons. The Chairperson of the Board of Judges is human rights lawyer and advocate, Atty. Jose Manuel Diokno. For members, we have Aurora Corazon Parong, M.D., member of the Human Rights Victims Claims Board (HRVCB) and Amnesty Philippines’ former Director; Bayang Barrios, singer, artist and indigenous peoples and women’s rights advocate. Two non-Filipino members of the Board of Judges include Dr. Khoo Ying Hooi, a human rights advocate and Senior Lecturer at the University of Malaya and the fifth seat filled by a senior manager from Amnesty International’s South East Asia and the Pacific Regional Office. Their criteria for judging are impact for human rights work at 40%, coverage of human rights work at 40%, and credibility at 20%,” explained Santos.

Amnesty International’s goal under its Global Brave Campaign, where Ignite Awards was based, is for HRDs to be empowered, safe and supported, alongside thousands who are inspired to act with them against injustice. Amnesty International is calling for a world where people can speak out for what’s right without being attacked, threatened or jailed.

“Over the past few years we have seen HRDs around the world increasingly face harassment, intimidation, smear campaigns, ill-treatment and unlawful detention, some are even being killed. But they carry on. Amnesty would like to honor that unwavering commitment today.”

The recipient for Most Distinguished Human Rights Defender for Individual is Senator Leila De Lima; for Most Distinguished Human Rights Defender for Organization, DAKILA – Philippine Collective for Modern Heroism. Recipient for Outstanding Young Human Rights Defender is Floyd Scott Tiogangco and for Art that Matters for Film, Christia Angela Roque. The recipients will be awarded on 2 June 2018 at the Luxent Hotel in Quezon City.

“Across the world, HRDs are risking everything to speak out against injustice. They are student leaders, political opponents, teachers, lawyers, journalists, women’s rights & environmental defenders. They are persecuted, harassed, tortured, jailed and even killed – just for daring to stand up for what’s right. Amnesty International Philippines would like to change that. It is not a crime to be brave.” Santos said.