De Lima named one of the ‘5 Sheroes of 2021’ anew

By Mavic Conde


"An opposition voice," and "one of the strongest" at that. "An indefatigable defender of human rights." These are the praises that Sen. Leila De Lima gets for being named as one of the “5 Sheroes of 2021” again.

De Lima has been awarded the Women Heroes Award since 2016 by the RINJ Foundation, a Canada-based non-profit association of humanitarians.


“I am deeply grateful and humbled to be included once again as one of the RINJ Foundation’s Sheroes of the Year. This means a lot to me. I thank you and all kindred spirits around the world for your constant support for our shared causes. With you, I am not alone and become stronger each day,” De Lima said in a news release.


The reason for her selection, according to the news release, is "her continued defense of human rights, which has become 'legendary' in the past years."


RINJ NGO worker in Manila, Karina Angeles, who was cited in the same news release, said that “In the Philippines, opposition members are either killed, or tied up in legal knots and sent to jail. There now is no political opposition in the Philippines, except [Sen.] Leila de Lima. One of the strongest opposition voices in the Philippines, is an indefatigable defender of human rights.”


Taiwan President Tasi Ing-wen, Hong Kong-based Canadian pop star and pro-democracy activist Denise Ho, US Congress Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and British-Iranian teacher and communications specialist Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe are her fellow awardees.


Founding director of RINJ Women Katie Alsop said that “Sadly, three of this year’s women who smooth the path of humanity for a future of innovation, opportunity & safety of children and their families, are held in prison or on bail by brutal authoritarian regimes. Two more are thriving national assets and Sheroes in their own countries.”


Both De Lima and Nazanin are jailed because of trumped-up charges. The former since February 2017 based “mostly on testimonies of convicted felons,” while Nazanin on “a trumped-up national security charge after a reported unfair trial in September 2016,” the news release said. It adds that Ho has been released recently from prison on bail. She was “accused of conspiring to publish a seditious comment about the Communist Party of China.”


RINJ described De Lima as a senator seeking a second six-year term in 2022 whose “fight for Filipino human rights is relentless and has become legendary these past five years.”