2024 Ebru Timtik Award Goes to National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) in the Philippines

The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) was established during its Founding Congress of September 15-16, 2007 in response to significant human rights violations during the administration of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. These violations included extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, and political persecution, which, alongside the potential implementation of the Republic Act No. 9372 (Human Security Act of 2007), underscored the need for organized legal advocacy and intervention.

Historically, human rights lawyers have addressed legal challenges independently, either through personal efforts or in collaboration with law firms, people’s organizations, or grassroots movements. While regional or local groups existed, a unified national organization to consolidate these efforts was lacking.

The NUPL emerged to fill this gap, forming a nationwide voluntary association of human rights lawyers, including those from mainstream bar groups or traditional legal practice with an interest in human rights lawyering and advocacy. The organization aims to coordinate and facilitate legal services and advocacy efforts to counter politically motivated legal actions and state oppression against vulnerable populations. It provides pro bono legal services, engages in community education, legislative advocacy, and legal research, and champions the protection of lawyers’ rights. The organization remains a pivotal force in promoting justice and human rights in the country.

Excerpts from the decision of the 2024 Ebru Timtik Award Selection Committee

The majority of the Selection Committee members decided “[t]he Ebru Timtik 2024 award is given to NUPL, an organization which has been active in defending and promoting the right to a fair trial in the Philippines. Members of the NUPL succeeded in upholding the fundamental values of human rights enshrined in the Philippine Constitution.  NUPL is thus awarded for giving meaning and substance, at the risk of personal harassment, false accusations, imprisonment, death threats, and even state-mandated liquidations, to the Philippine Constitutional concept of due process of law. This includes the accused’s rights to be heard by counsel, to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against them, to have a speedy, impartial, and public trial, to meet the witnesses face to face, and to have compulsory process to secure the attendance of witnesses and the production of evidence in his behalf, and the right to appeal. The NUPL’s members have rendered legal services especially to political dissenters, the poor and the oppressed, pro bono, without any expectation or hope of reward.

Human Rights are universal and must be defended when governments tend to ignore them or even deliberately violate them. An organization to provide people with adequate legal aid in such circumstances is a necessity. The jury wants to award the NUPL for the work they have been doing for decades.”

“The majority of the jury agreed on the consideration that the individual nominees for the 2023 Ebru Timtik Award didn’t entirely operate on their own. Support was given by the NUPL as a vehicle for all of most of their actions. The organization was also nominated and it seemed reasonable to the majority of the jury to grant the NUPL the Ebru Timtik Award.”

“The jury would like to acknowledge that to succeed the continuation of the efforts for fair trials collectively, in such a long-term from one generation of lawyers to others, in such a high-risk conditions is very impressive and inspiring.

The jury also expresses their hope that the international recognition for the NUPL’s work to aid Phillipine citizens for fair trials and justice in difficult circumstances will help the NUPL and its members to continue their work.”

Artwork for the 2024 Ebru Timtik Award

2024 Ebru Timtik Award Artwork by Stefanie Wuschitz:

Reactive Courage

Reactive Courage, animation, 6 mins

Stefanie Wuschitz’s words on Reactive Courage: “There are numbers, there is quantitative research, there is evidence that makes us speak up with more confidence. But to deal with emerging feelings of despair and unsettling questions that shake up core values I sometimes need more than that. Art can be a way of processing complex, dark, traumatic, content that is hard to unpack. Having lived in South East Asia as an arts-based researcher for six months now, I have gone through different stages of grief. And I still digest all the things I heard in interviews and conversations. Some of them pop up in this animation. After countless dark, vibrant and sleepless nights what gave me new courage was looking at street art in the morning. “Only the dead know the end of the war” is one of these sentences I discovered on a street wall, written in a different language. The two creatures in the last scene of my animation, with one eye each merging into a single face, are also inspired by a simple drawing someone painted on a street wall. Like street artists, it helps me a lot to express myself, because this way the restlessness decreases. I feel more safe again and have an easier time finding important allies who validate and enable each other’s struggle. This way I also found the people who helped me to make this animation: Asara Panyalai, Wahyudi Tanjung Raupp, A. Semali and Surya Widodo. Thank you so much for having me create this year’s Ebru Timik Award artwork.”

Stefanie Wuschitz

Wuschitz is an artistic researcher and is currently based in Indonesia. Her work aims at demythifiying and decolonising technology production. Her method of feminist hacking reveals hidden degrees of social inequality. In 2009 she founded the collective and feminist hacklab Mz* Baltazar’s Laboratory, which she co-organised until 2023. Her art work and publications are influenced by new feminist materialism and ecofeminist values in the realm of open source culture. Her animations, drawings and interactive art installations have been presented at international venues and art festivals such as ART|JOG 8 (Indonesia), Bouillants Vern-Sur-Seiche (France), the Austrian Cultural Forum (the US), the Fringe Festival Taipei (Taiwan) the 8th International Sinop Biennial (Turkey) and the 16th International Biennial of Aveiro (Portugal), Kunsthaus Graz (Austria), among others. She had solo exhibitions at Kunstraum pro arte (Coded Feminisms in Indonesia), Galerie 3 (Gute Mi[e]ne – Böses Spiel) and others. In 2014 she finished her PhD on Feminist Hackerspaces. A Research on Feminist Space Collectives in Open Culture. Wuschitz received several awards, such as Content Award, Johanna-Dohnal-Prize, and the Outstanding Artis Award with her collective Mz* Baltazar’s Laboratory. She is nominated for the Ars Electronica S.T.ARTS prize 2024. Between 2019 and 2023 she was principal investigator (PI) of three arts based research projects (two at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna funded by the FWF) and one at TU Berlin (DiGiTal programme for Women* in Art and Science) and is currently PI of an arts-based research project on Strategies against Digital Colonialism in Indonesia. She is co-author of the forthcoming book Feminist Hardware Art published at Transcript.

To learn more about Wuschitz’s work: https://stefaniewuschitz.com/

Art Consultant of the Ebru Timtik Award Artwork: Işın Önol – https://isinonol.com




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