The German Bundestag Committee on Economic Cooperation and Development led by the German Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights and Policy and Humanitarian Aid, Dr. Bärbel Kofler, nominated the work done by the Preda Foundation, Columban Father Shay Cullen and his team for the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize. It can only now be made public.
The prestigious nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize by such a distinguished parliamentary group highlights the work of the Preda Foundation and hundreds of Filipino human rights advocates working in seriously deteriorating conditions of human rights violations. It is a dangerous and risky work by hundreds of courageous Filipinos defending the helpless victims.
Rodrigo Duterte told his police on August 16, 2017, to “shoot those who are part of (drug activity). If they are (members of human rights organizations) and are obstructing justice shoot them,” he ordered. He also said that human rights organizations could possibly face criminal investigation for criticizing his anti-drug campaign. “One of these days, you human rights groups, I will also investigate you, that’s the truth, for conspiracy,” he told the media. In December 2016 he also threatened to kill human rights defenders.
Despite these dire warnings, the advocates continued standing up, marching, writing and speaking out for the rule of law and human dignity. The nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize, while given to one, is for all. It is a signal of solidarity and support for all the human rights advocates.
These are dark and difficult days for those defending the rights of the people targeted by the death squads that seem to operate with official protection. It is in this atmosphere that the German Commissioner Dr. Bärbel Kofler and the German Bundestag committee signed the letter of nomination. It is important to have international support and encouragement to continue the struggle and defense of the poor and the vulnerable.