Madam Speaker, two years ago, I stood in the House to call for an end to the arbitrary detention of Senator Leila de Lima of the Philippines, who was imprisoned in February 2017 for speaking out on human rights abuses, including leading a senate inquiry into the extrajudicial killings in the Philippines' war on drugs. It is appalling that today she is still in prison.
The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found her imprisonment to be contrary to international law. The European Parliament has called for her release and Amnesty International has declared her a prisoner of conscience. Senator de Lima is in prison because she is a human rights defender. She has not only been deprived of her freedom, but also her right to fulfill her legislative mandate and participate in democratic debate.
I ask all members of the House to join other parliamentarians around the world in calling for Senator de Lima's immediate release.