HomeNewsAmnesty International honors Filipino religious brother for human rights work

Amnesty International honors Filipino religious brother for human rights work

Amnesty International has conferred its highest award for human rights defenders on Brother Armin Luistro, a Filipino Lasallian Brother who once served as secretary of the Education department.

Amnesty International Philippines’ second Ignite Awards honored Brother Luistro in the individual category.

The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism received the same award for the organizations category.

The organization’s “most distinguished human rights defender” award aims to recognize the work of human rights defenders in changing the lives of people through policy advocacy, mobilization, activism and art.

“They truly ignite the human rights cause, speaking up against injustices and exposing inequalities on behalf of those who, otherwise, will not be heard,” said Butch Olano, section director of Amnesty International in the Philippines.

He said it is difficult now for human rights’ prime movers to take action amid the pandemic.

“We note that we are in extraordinary times but the same human rights defenders are speaking out against repression during this crisis,” said Olano.

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The human rights group also lauded the “spirit of activism and exceptional courage” the awards’ recipients continue to show while faced with an unprecedented public health emergency.

The organization emphasizes that taking action to safeguard human rights “has become more important especially now more than ever”.

This year’s winners were announced during Amnesty International’s 59th anniversary on May 28.

Brother Luistro served as Education secretary from 2010 to 2016. He was president of De La Salle University in Manila from 2004 to 2010.

The religious brother is also the former president of the Philippine Business for Social Progress, the country’s largest business-led non-governmental organization.

In July 2019, he was among those charged of sedition by the country’s police, described by many as an intimidation against government critics.

The case was later dismissed by the Justice department for lack of evidence.

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