Press Release
June 30, 2021

De Lima thanks Canadian Senators for amplifying call for her freedom

Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has thanked Canadian Senator Marilou McPhedran for strengthening her persistent call for her release from her continued unjust detention by the Duterte regime.

De Lima, a staunch social justice and human rights champion, also extended her appreciation to Canadian Senators Peter Harder, Leo Housakos, Peter Boehm and other Canadian legislators for taking a stand against injustice by supporting the calls for her freedom.

"Thanks @SenMarilou @SenHarder @SenHousakos, @SenBoehm & your @SenateCA colleagues for amplifying the global call for my freedom. You are proof that the world watches, and that democracy can never be defeated," De Lima said in a statement on Twitter.

De Lima made the statement after McPhedran posted a short clip on Twitter which shows the latter thanking her colleagues before the Senate of Canada for affirming their support for Motion No. 75 which she filed this month condemning the wrongful imprisonment of the Filipina Senator.

"...To @SenHarder & my @SenateCA colleagues for the excellent debate on #M75, which calls on [Canada] to join [p]arliamentarians to advocate for the release of wrongfully imprisoned @SenLeiladeLima. It is our duty to [speak] against democratic repression everywhere. #FreeLeilaNow #SenCA," McPhedran posted on Twitter.

As seen on the video, McPhedran told her colleagues that Motion No. 75 "now has opened up a pathway for us as Canadian Senators to join parliamentary colleagues in many countries and interparliamentary associations to support another Senator imprisoned under conditions that are likely impossible for us as Canadian Senators to even imagine."

McPhedran added, "Thank you for expressing your concern for this Senator and your respect for democracy and the rule of law."

In an earlier statement, McPhedran told her colleagues that she introduced Motion No. 75 as an opportunity to join their voices as independent thinking Senators, along with parliamentarians and other human rights defenders across the world, in taking a righteous stand alongside a persecuted colleague, such as Senator De Lima.

"Honorable colleagues, we know that a working democracy requires dedicated persons both in government and civil society to be able to scrutinize governments and hold to account those in power. And these include Senators in Canada and Senators in the Philippines," McPhedran said.

Aside from the recent support from Canadian legislators, it can be recalled that the Inter-Parliamentary Union Governing Council approved a nine-point recommendation by the IPU Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians, including, among others, a call for De Lima's freedom and an appeal to ensure that she benefits from the Senate's move towards teleconferencing, during its 207th session last May 25.

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