‘A powerful advocate’: Taiwan honors veteran Pinoy child rights advocate

December 14, 2023 - 2:21 PM
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Photo of Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen with Amihan Abueva during the Asia Democracy and Human Rights Award (ADHRA) conferment ceremony (TaiwanFoundationForDemocracy/Facebook)

A Filipino child rights advocate became the recipient of the Asia Democracy and Human Rights Award (ADHRA) from Taiwan.

This award recognizes an individual or an organization that made a significant contribution to defending human rights in Asia.

Filipino child rights advocate Amihan Abueva received the prestigious award from Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen at the Taipei Guest House on December 7. Abueva was honored for her 30-year “unwavering commitment in fighting child trafficking, sexual exploitation, and all forms of violence against children in Asia.”

The Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, a non-government organization that launched the ADHRA, also posted about Abueva’s conferment ceremony on Facebook.

“The Taiwan Foundation for Democracy (TFD) today (Dec. 7) held the 2023 Asia Democracy and Human Rights Award (ADHRA) ceremony at the Taipei Guest House. At the ceremony, President Tsai Ing-wen presented the award plaque and TFD Chairman You Si-Kun the grant to this year’s laureate, Ms. Amihan V. Abueva from the Philippines,” the post reads.

Abueva, the regional executive director of the Child Rights Coalition Asia, has led initiatives to combat child trafficking and prostitution in different sectors throughout her illustrious career. These include:

  • The foundation of the Asia Against Child Trafficking Initiative (ASIA-ACTS), a large anti-child trafficking network in Southeast Asia
  • Her service as the executive director of the End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography, and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes International (ECPAT International), an organization that aims to end the prostitution and trafficking of children

Child Rights Coalition is network of non-profit organizations that promotes and upholds the rights of children in 16 countries.

In her acceptance speech, Abueva shared her view on the importance of “making a space” for children in a democratic society.

“When we work to make space for children to have their questions, concerns, worries, and ideas listened to, we help them experience firsthand what democracy is all about. Becoming a good citizen is like a muscle that has to be developed,” she said.

The Taiwan president, meanwhile, described Abueva as a “powerful advocate” of children’s rights in line with her decades-long fight against all forms of violence against kids.

“Ms. Abueva has been a powerful advocate for the rights of children in her decades-long battle against all forms of child violence, especially trafficking and sexual exploitation. Throughout her career, she has epitomized selflessness and courage, tirelessly fighting to secure a safer world for our children and our future,” Taiwan’s chief executive said.

Abueva was granted $100,000 (P5,577,900) as part of the recognition. This money will be used to finance and implement Child Rights Coalition Asia’s programs.