MANILA, Philippines – #CourageON: No Lockdown on Rights, a multi-sectoral human rights coalition with over 75 member organizations, hailed the decision of the Court of Appeals to allow Rappler CEO Maria Ressa to go to Oslo, Norway, in December to personally receive her Nobel Peace Prize.
Solicitor General Jose Calida had sought to bar Ressa’s Oslo trip, filing an opposition with the Court of Appeals. He argued that Ressa is a flight risk.
This is the coalition’s full statement on the court decision:
On December 10, 2021, Maria Ressa is set to receive this year’s Nobel Peace Prize together with Dmitry Muratov for their “efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition of democracy and lasting peace” as the Norwegian Nobel Committee stated in its announcement.
That Maria will become the first Filipino Nobel laureate is a historic moment on its own. Nonetheless, the prestigious international award is also an honor for all Filipinos. It now becomes a recognition of the Filipino people’s enduring struggle for democracy, freedom, justice, and peace.
Thus, Maria’s physical presence in the ceremonies in Oslo, Norway is even more significant, urgent, and necessary – especially as she is set to receive the award on International Human Rights Day amid the worsening situation of human rights and gross attacks on civil liberties in the Philippines.
This is why we laud the decision of the Court of Appeals to allow Maria to go to Oslo, Norway, to personally accept her Nobel Peace Prize for 2021. This decision is made even more significant after the Philippine government through its Solicitor General sought to bar her from traveling to Norway to attend the ceremonies, using as basis her cyber libel conviction – which is still under appeal – even though she returned every time she was allowed to leave the country.
It’s clear that this futile effort to prevent Maria from leaving the country is a reprisal for her work and a means to discredit the significance of her recognition. Ironically, these reprisals and attacks are the very reasons Maria is set to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
Thus, we, the various human rights groups, organizations, and advocates who have come together in the #CourageON: No Lockdown on Rights coalition, welcome the decision of the Court of Appeals, especially in the face of opposition from the Philippine government’s Office of the Solicitor General.
We support and stand with Maria in asserting her innocence against the cyber libel charge against her, along with her and every Filipino’s fight for freedom and democracy. We will continue to hold the line, speak truth to power, and fight for our rights and hard-won freedoms against tyranny and repression. Courage on! – Rappler.com