MANILA (UPDATED/CORRECTED)— Karapatan's secretary-general has received this year's rights prize from the governments of France and Germany, noting her efforts in protecting minorities and advancing women empowerment.
Cristina Palabay received the 2021 Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law along with 14 other recipients globally.
The award, they said, is given to people or groups who have had an "exceptional contribution" in protecting and promoting human rights, as well as the rule of law locally and internationally.
French Ambassador Michèle Boccoz and German Ambassador Anke Reiffenstuel jointly gave the award to Palabay on Wednesday.
In a statement, the Embassy of France said Palabay was nominated for the award due to her work in labor rights, upholding freedom of expression, and her support in calling for the protection and safety of rights workers worldwide.
"Cristina Palabay has led efforts in providing legal and material assistance to political prisoners, victims, and the families of victims of torture, harassment, displacement, enforced disappearances in the Philippines," the statement read.
"Ms. Palabay is among the co-founders of the Gabriela Women's Party, which advocates for women's rights, and has worked to implement laws protecting women against violence and against human trafficking, among others."
Palabay is the 3rd Filipina who got the award since it was established in 2016, next to Rosemarie Trajano (2016), a former officer at the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates; and Mary Aileen Bacalso (2019), of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances.
Karapatan is an alliance of human rights organizations, programs, committees and individual advocates that have been at the forefront of the fight for the protection of human rights in the country since 1995.
The rights group also documents human rights violations through fact-finding missions, files cases through courts, even quasi-judicial bodies like the Commission on Human Rights, the United Nations, and other international human rights bodies, it added.
Human rights is one of the prevailing issues in the Philippines under the Duterte administration, most especially after the President launched his bloody crackdown against illegal drugs in 2016 that killed thousands of individuals.
Duterte's War on Drugs is a subject of a possible investigation before the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Editor's note: This article corrects the mention that Palabay is a human rights lawyer. She is the secretary-general of Karapatan. We regret the error.