Amnesty confers La Salle brother top human rights award

Amnesty confers La Salle brother top human rights award

Br. Armin Luistro, FSC. COURTESY OF MELO ACUNA

By CBCP News

May 30, 2020

Manila, Philippines

An international rights watchdog has conferred a Filipino Catholic missionary its highest award for human rights defenders.

Amnesty International (AI) Philippines’ second Ignite Awards honored La Salle Br. Armin Luistro in the individual category, while the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) received the same award for organizations.

Other awardees included Lorenzo Miguel Relente for Young Outstanding Human Rights Defender award and Michael David Tan for the Art that Matters for Literature category.

The organization’s “most distinguished human rights defender” award aim 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, AI Philippines Section Director.

He stressed that it is especially difficult now for human rights prime movers to take action amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

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

AI 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 on May 28, coinciding Amnesty International’s 59th anniversary.

Luistro has over 33 years of experience in both the private and public sectors.

From 2010 to 2016, he served as secretary of the Education department. Prior to this, he was at the helm of De La Salle University in Manila, serving as its president from 2004 to 2010.

Luistro 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.