Senator Leila M. De Lima

On November 20th, Senator Leila M. De Lima will serve 1.000 days unjustly arbitrary detained by the authoritarian regime of Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines. The HRI for Peace and Freedom communicates the case emphasizing in the importance of freedom of conscience and of speech for democracy and peace to triumph around the world, because Senator De Lima is both, a prisoner of conscience and a political prisoner.

De Lima was arbitrary arrested on February 24th, 2017 under a campaign of intimidation and repression led by Duterte to all political opposition. She was accused of drug trade, which is completely fictional with no evidence whatsoever that supports the case. 

She was a critique of the drug war started by Duterte due to anti-human rights policies in which extrajudicial executions and acts of torture, mainly to poor Philippines, were constantly practiced. Not only Senator De lima, but as well Duterte has threatened all human rights activists and defenders in the country. 

The senator has been systematically targeted by the regime. Just as in most of authoritarian regimes around the world, any form of political opposition is targeted and destabilized. This is called state terrorism, which is a subject the HRI for peace and freedom is currently working on, in order to produce an informative report with cases such as De Lima´s in many regions of the world. 

Freedom of speech is more and more vulnerable in Filipins because of the regime´s restrictive policies. Anyone who publicly criticize the government is now susceptible of being systematically targeted. 

The HRI supports the campaign conducted by the “Committee for the Freedom of Leila M. de Lima”, condemns the practices conducted by the Duterte regime and demands the immediate release of Senator Leila M De Lima. The international community and inter-governmental bodies must address the situation. Specially, the International Criminal Court´s Chief Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, and the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations, Michelle Bachelet, to demand a proper and transparent investigation according to international standards. Even with the withdrawal of the Philippines from the Rome statue system, before the withdrawal, a preliminary investigation of the war on drugs campaign was commenced. 

Even in prison, Senator De Lima advocates for human rights, democracy and rule of law.