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Filipino artist-activist receives Dutch Embassy Tulip Award

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On the occasion of Human Rights Day, the Netherlands Embassy recognized Filipino artist collective, DAKILA with the 2nd Embassy Tulip Award for Human Rights, in a reception hosted by Dutch Ambassador Marielle Geraedts in her residence. 

Explaining the reason behind bestowing this award, Ambassador Geraedts said that it is meant to “recognize outstanding organizations that promote human rights in peaceful ways, especially for their innovation and creativity.” She also said that the award “seeks to support human rights defenders with visibility and a broader platform for engagement and critical discussions.” Through this award, the Dutch Embassy hopes it adds a layer of protection especially against extraordinary harassment or threat, as it assures continued monitoring and support for their work.  

Dakila is an artist-activist collective that has pioneered “creative resistance” and harnessing the power of arts, media and popular culture in popularizing human rights and democratic values in the Philippines. Since it was founded 17 years ago, it has created a community of artists and activists of all ages that integrates Filipino culture and values in countering efforts to discredit human rights work, and in reclaiming and shaping the human rights movement.

One of the most notable achievements of Dakila is the establishment of the “Active Vista International Human Rights Festival,” the biggest, broadest, and longest running festival celebrating rights and freedoms in the Philippines. It also has a strong presence on social media, as it uses emerging platforms such as TikTok, to make human rights more digestible and understandable for the public, especially the youth. 

In receiving the award, Dakila’s Secretary General Leni Velasco remarked “[with] this Tulip Award, we in DAKILA, our Active Vista Center, and the breadth of our constituency, renew our commitment to ignite this movement of heroism, and usher in a new generation of heroes that will creatively resist amid fear and despair, that loves radically between the gaps and crevices of social polarization and division, and disrupts an angry, hateful world with kindness and empathy built on justice.”

The Netherlands has a long tradition of protecting human rights defenders. The Embassy Tulip is the local version of the annual Human Rights Tulip award, awarded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Hague each year. The awarding ceremony was attended by ambassadors and representatives of the international community and members of the human rights community.

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