Filipino activist Cristina Palabay, secretary general of the group Karapatan Alliance Philippines, received this year’s Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law.
Palabay received the award from French Ambassador Michèle Boccoz and German Ambassador Anke Reiffenstuel during a simple ceremony in Manila on Wednesday, December 15.
Every year since 2016, the Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law has been awarded to individuals or organizations that have made an exceptional contribution to the protection and promotion of human rights and the rule of law in their country and at the international level.
This Prize reaffirms the constant commitment of France and Germany to Human Rights and the Rule of Law, and helps strengthen their cooperation in this area.
Among this year’s recipients of the award are: Monika Borgmann (Lebanon), Narges Mohammadi (Iran), Nebahat Akkoç (Turkey), Erika Aifán (Guatemala), May Sabe Phyu (Myanmar), Noelah Godfrey Msuya (Tanzania), Tabelo Timse (South Africa), Shahrzad Akbar (Afghanistan), Chang Weiping (China), Jacques Létang (Haiti), Alexandrine Victoire Saizonou (Benin), Ajna Jusic (Bosnia & Herzegovina), Jake Epelle (Nigeria), and Rafael Uzcátegui (Venezuela).
Palabay was jointly nominated by the French and German Embassies in Manila “in recognition of her dedication to promoting human rights in the Philippines and globally,” read a press statement from the Embassy of France in Manila.
The award cited Palabay’s advocacy work in protecting minorities, empowering women, upholding labor rights, defending freedom of the press and expression, calling for respect of international humanitarian law, as well as supporting actions for the protection and safety of human rights workers.
In her capacity as secretary general of Karapatan, Palabay has led efforts in providing legal and material assistance to political prisoners, victims, and the families of victims of torture, harassment, displacement, and enforced disappearances in the Philippines.
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.
The Karapatan secretary general is the third Filipino to receive the Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law since its creation five years ago.
In 2017, Rosemarie Trajano, then secretary general of the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates was recognized for dedicating over 30 years of her work in the defense and protection of human rights in the Philippines.
Mary Aileen Bacalso, secretary general of the Asian Federation against Involuntary Disappearances received the award in 2019 for her work in lobbying for greater national and international action against enforced disappearances, and providing assistance to victims of enforced disappearances and their families.