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January 25, 2010

Filipino human rights activist will visit NIU for Feb. 2 lecture

DeKalb, Ill. — Veteran Filipino human rights activist Marie Hilao-Enriquez will be the featured speaker for the next installment of the John A. Niemi International Lecture Series.

Her talk on human rights and social movements in the Philippines will be held from 6 to 8:40 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 2, in the Cavan Auditorium of Gabel Hall (Room 126). The presentation is titled, “An Organic Intellectual Speaks Up: Social Movements and Human Rights—the Philippine Case.” The event is free and open to the public.

Hilao-Enriquez has been a leading proponent of democracy in the Philippines and outspoken critic of human rights abuses there and abroad.

She serves as chairperson of the Filipino human rights group Karapatan. The non-governmental organization submits reports of human rights violations to the Philippine government, urging legislative bodies to open inquiries and investigations into cases of suspected human rights violations. It also campaigns for the release of political prisoners, intervenes in court hearings on their behalf and conducts human rights education at the grassroots level.

Hilao-Enriquez’ activism dates back to her student days at the University of the Philippines during the early 1970s, when martial law was declared in the country. Her extended family has long struggled for grassroots democracy, and Hilao-Enriquez is herself a former political prisoner. She gave birth to her eldest daughter in prison.

For her efforts on behalf of victims of human rights violations, Hilao-Enriquez was nominated to the Human Rights Award in the Netherlands and the John Humphrey Freedom Award in Canada.

Her NIU visit is co-sponsored by the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Department of Anthropology, Division of International Programs, International Training Office, the Social Justice Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of DeKalb and the Graduate Colloquium Committee.

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Media Contact: Tom Paris, NIU Office of Public Affairs
Phone: 815/753-3635
Email: tparisi@niu.edu