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Volume 742: debated on Tuesday 12 December 2023

14. Whether he has had discussions with his counterpart in the Philippines on the case of Leila De Lima. (900602)

We welcome the release of Leila De Lima on bail, which is a positive step for human rights and the rule of law. The UK’s ambassador has repeatedly raised this case with the Philippines Government, and visited her during her detention.

I agree that it is good news that Senator De Lima has been released on bail after nearly seven years of detention. What representations are the Government making to their counterparts in the Philippines, via the ambassador, about resolving all the other charges against her, which are believed to stem from her vocal opposition to thousands of extrajudicial killings in connection with former President Duterte’s war on drugs, and about a meaningful investigation into those killings?

The UK Government regularly engage with the Government of the Philippines on the full range of our human rights concerns. We welcomed the 2020 UN Human Rights Council resolution, which proposed technical co-operation on human rights between the Government of the Philippines and the United Nations. The resolution resulted in a three-year UN joint programme, which commenced in 2021, to which the UK has contributed £400,000. We will continue to work alongside them.