Artist-activist collective Dakila gets ‘Tulip Award’

Dakila’s Secretary-General Leni Velasco (center) receives the distinction from Ambassador Marielle Geraedts (left).

ON Human Rights Day the Netherlands Embassy recognized Filipino artist collective Dakila with the second “Embassy Tulip” award for human rights, in a reception hosted by Ambassador Marielle Geraedts.

Geraedts explained that the award is meant to “recognize outstanding organizations that promote human rights in peaceful ways, especially for their innovation and creativity.” She also shared that it “seeks to support human-rights defenders with visibility, and a broader platform for engagement and critical discussions.”

Dakila is an artist-activist collective who has pioneered “creative resistance” by 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 to make human rights more digestible and understandable for the public, especially the youth.

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 given 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.

Through the 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.


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