Press Release
September 18, 2020

De Lima welcomes European Parliament's resolution reiterating call for her freedom

Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has welcomed the resolution by the European Parliament (EP) calling, among others, for action on the deteriorating human rights situation in the Philippines under the present administration and for her immediate release from unjust detention.

De Lima, a known human rights defender here and abroad, thanked the members of European Parliament for watching how the government is handling its human rights situation in the country and not allowing injustices to continue to reign here.

"I am deeply grateful that the international community, particularly the members of European Parliament, continue to fight for justice and human rights in the Philippines and show concern over my plight by closely monitoring the trumped-up charges brought up against me and fighting for my freedom," she said.

"This recent resolution adopted by the European Parliament reminds us that the world is constantly watching and that justice will catch up to those who do injustice to others one way or another," she added.

The European Parliament adopted the said resolution highlighting the human rights situation in the Philippines by 626 votes in favor, 7 against, and 52 abstentions last Sept. 17.

The resolution reiterated its call for the Philippine government to "drop all politically motivated charges against Senator Leila de Lima, to release her while she awaits trial, to allow her to freely exercise her rights and duties as an elected representative, and to provide her with adequate security and sanitary conditions while in detention; calls on the EU to continue closely monitoring her case."

"[S]enator Leila de Lima, one of the main opponents of President Duterte's anti-drugs campaign, was removed from her position as chairperson of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights on 19 September 2016, and has remained in detention awaiting trial since her arrest on 23 February 2017; whereas there are serious concerns that the offences Senator de Lima has been charged with are fabricated and politically motivated," the resolution read.

Aside from condemning De Lima's unjust detention, the resolution also deplored the thousands of extrajudicial killings and other serious human rights violations related to the so-called "war on drugs" and called on the authorities to "immediately carry out impartial, transparent, independent and meaningful investigations into all extrajudicial killings."

Acknowledging the "seriousness of the human rights violations in the country," the resolution likewise called "on the European Commission, in the absence of any substantial improvement and willingness to cooperate on the part of the Philippine authorities, to immediately initiate the procedure which could lead to the temporary withdrawal of GSP+ preferences."

While welcoming the EP resolution, De Lima also took the occasion to remind the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the foreign government to step up their efforts in fighting rights violators in the country.

"I urge the UNHRC to set up the investigation of killings and rights abuses in the Philippines; the International Criminal Court (ICC) to expedite its proceeding; and for foreign governments, wherever applicable, to enforce targeted sanctions against Filipino officials who are corrupt and/or rights violators," said De Lima.

It may be recalled that in March 2017 and April 2018, the EP also adopted resolutions on the human rights situation in the Philippines, highlighting the political persecution De Lima is subjected to under the Duterte regime.

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