Life and Work of a Filipino Human Rights Defender


Thursday 7 December, 20:00

Karl Dittrich Hall, Student Services Center, Bonnefantenstraat 2


Our guest is a human rights defender who is dedicated to the empowerment of minorities and marginalized groups in the Philippines. As a result of her work, she has been on the receiving end of harassment and intimidation. She has been threatened while in the field doing documenting work.


She will speak about her work and the situation in the Philippines. She works with the Task Force Detainees of Philippines (TFDP) where she monitors and documents human rights violations, such as civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights committed by state and non-state actors. Her work focuses on human rights violations against the indigenous people of Mindanao. She works on the distribution of grants for human rights defenders, particularly women and the LGBTIQ+ community, who are in need of immediate assistance.

Despite the elections in May 2022, severe human rights violations continue to take place in the Philippines, as the effects of the violence set in motion by former President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs (2016-2019) ripples across society. Alleged drug traffickers, communists, journalists, lawyers, and human rights defenders are frequent targets of extrajudicial killings carried out by undercover armed groups and security forces.2 The government suppresses investigations into these killings and targets dissidents speaking up and those who document human rights violations by ‘red-tagging’ them, claiming alleged communist affiliations as an excuse for suppressing their activities.

TFDP has been red-tagged by the Filipino government in an attempt to obstruct their documentation and monitoring work. These threatening and stressful circumstances have left Juvie drained and in a constant state of stress.


This lecture is organized by Studium Generale and the Shelter City Project.


The Shelter City Project is a country-wide initiative by Justice and Peace Netherlands, in cooperation with Dutch cities and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which aims to protect human rights defenders. Human rights defenders stand up for their own rights and those of others. This is a difficult struggle. Often, they run great risk: they are silenced, arrested, tortured, and sometimes simply disappear. When human rights defenders are threatened severely because of their work, they are eligible for a three-month stay in one of the Dutch Shelter Cities. Besides providing rest and respite, their stay in the Netherlands allows them to continue their work in a safe environment. In addition, they enlarge their professional network of civil society organizations and political connections in The Hague, Brussels, and elsewhere. Furthermore, the human rights defenders participate in training courses to develop relevant skills. Moreover, through public events and workshops, they contribute to raising awareness about human rights among the citizens of the Shelter Cities.



07 December 2023

19:30 - 21:30