International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL):

 Lawyers Confab Condemns Rampant Human Rights Violations

and Impunity in the Philippines

 

Hanoi, Vietnam

 

June 9, 2009

 

 

 

The General Assembly of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) expresses serious concern on the rampant human rights violations in the Philippines and the refusal of the Phlippine government to investigate and prosecute its state security forces and stop the impunity of the perpetrators.

 

In a two page resolution, instantly and unanimously passed by more than 200 delegates from all over the world to the IADL XVIIth Congress in Hanoi, Vietnam, the IADL also condemns the attacks on lawyers and judges in the Philippines and calls on the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Lawyers and Judges to investigate this.

 

   
   
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Photos courtesy of National Unioon of Peoples' Lawyers
           
           

 

 

PRESS RELEASE

IADL Lawyers Confab in Hanoi Condemns Rampant Human Rights Violations and Impunity in the Philippines.

DATELINE HANOI, June 9, 2009: The General Assembly of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) expresses serious concern on the rampant human rights violations in the Philippines and the refusal of the Phlippine government to investigate and prosecute its state security forces and stop the impunity of the perpetrators. In a two page resolution, instantly and unanimously passed by more than 200 delegates from all over the world to the IADL XVIIth Congress in Hanoi, Vietnam, the IADL also condemns the attacks on lawyers and judges in the Philippines and calls on the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Lawyers and Judges to investigate this.

The IADL resolution also calls for a stop to the undemocratic and repressive labelling of human rights defenders and political activists as enemies of the state or “terrorists” and calls for the resumption of formal talks in the peace negotiation between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front (NDF).

The resolution also urges the United States government to stop providing military aid to the Philippine government and desist from any military intervention in the country especially the deployment of troops.

The resolution was based on the findings of the IADL that since President Gloria Arroyo took over the presidency in 2001, more than a thousand people have fallen victims to extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearance, torture and other human rights violations reportedly perpetrated by state security forces in response to the growing opposition to government policies and corruption. More than forty lawyers and judges have been killed since President Arroyo came to power, a number of which were human rights victims lawyers.

The persistent intervention of the United States government and the deployment of US troops in the country to aid a repressive regime, were also noted in the resolution, as a hindrance to achieving a just and lasting peace in the country and in resolving the roots of the armed conflict by way of forging agreements on basic social, economic, constitutional and political reforms.

The IADL XVIIth Congress will end today, with the General Assembly expected to come up with a General Declaration. A 9-member team of lawyers from NUPL from different regions in the Philippines are in Hanoi since June 4 attending the IADL congress and assembly as well as its commissions.#

Reference: Atty. Edre U. Olalia, NUPL Deputy Secretary General for International Solidarity, +639267202844
 

COLAP 5 meeting
     

 

           

 

PHILIPPINES ELECTED TO BUREAU OF WORLD LAWYERS BODY: Set to Host big Conference of Asia Pacific Lawyers on Human Rights in Manila

DATELINE HANOI, June 15, 2009: The XVIIth Congress of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) in Hanoi called on the Philippines to host the Fifth Conference of Lawyers in the Asia and the Pacific (COLAP V) on September 18 to 19, 2010. The host association is the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), the largest association of active human rights lawyers in the country and the Philippine member organization of the IADL a worldwide association of human rights lawyers from 100 countries founded in 1947. The IADL, which has consultative status with ECOSOC and UNESCO of the UN, is one of the oldest and the biggest organizations of progressive lawyers internationally.

The IADL Congress also elected Filipino human rights lawyer Edre U. Olalia to be a member of its Bureau, the 27-member governing body of the IADL. Representatives from Austria, Belgium, Cuba, France, Haiti,, Hungary, India, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Pakistan, Puerto Rico,Romania, Spain, United Sates of America, United Kingdom, Vietnam were also elected to the Bureau. Newly-elected members of the Bureau met with Nguyen Minh Triet, President of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam at the Presidential Palace. The elected President is Jeanne Mirer of the US; Secretary General is Osamu Niikura of Japan and Joan Roig Plans of Spain as Treasurer. Niikura was the official delegate of IADL and our guest during the NUPL Founding Congress in Cebu last September 2007.

The Philippine human rights lawyers gained IADL’s recognition during its Paris Congress in 2005 because of its active campaign against attacks on lawyers, judges and civil liberties. It further gained the respect of IADL when it delivered well written papers during the Hanoi Congress on Philippine human rights condition including issues on the writ of amparo, attacks against judges and lawyers and national liberation movements. The NUPL delegation was nominated to be the Rapporteur in three of the six Commissions during the congress, namely, Atty. Rachel Pastores, NUPL Deputy Secretary General for Legal Services for Commission 1 on Right to Peace; Atty. Edre U. Olalia, NUPL Deputy Secretary General for International Solidarity Work for Commission 1 on Anti-Terrorism Laws; and Hon. Neri Colmenares, NUPL Secretary General for Commission 3 on Independence of the Judiciary Its head of delegation, NUPL Secretary General Rep. Neri Javier Colmenares was also asked to be one of the speakers in the Plenary.

The theme of the COLAP V conference in Manila is “Human Rights, Development and the International Economic Crisis”. It will be attended by more than two-hundred lawyers and jurists from the region such as Japan, the Asean countries such as Vietnam and Korea, United States, Canada, Australia and the South Asian countries such as India and Pakistan. It is expected that one of the main issues that will be tackled during COLAP V is the human rights situation in the Philippines including the killings of judges and lawyers. COLAP IV was held in South Korea, while the previous COLAPS were held in New Delhi, Hanoi and Tokyo.

Reference Person : Atty. Edre Olalia: 09267202844
(Deputy Secretary General for International Solidarity Work )
Date : June 16, 2009
 

 

PRESS RELEASE

INTERNATIONAL FACT FINDING REPORT ON ATTACKS AGAINST PHILIPPINE LAWYERS AND JUDGES PRESENTED IN INTERNATIONAL LAWYERS’ CONGRESS IN HANOI
 

DATELINE HANOI, 8 June 2009: Belgian lawyer Jo Dereymaeker, of the Progress Lawyers Network Belgium presented the report of the International Verification & Fact Finding Mission (IVFFM) on the Philippines, to the Commission 3 meeting of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) on the third day of its XVIIth Congress in Hanoi, Vietnam.
 

The IVFFM, a team of eight judges and lawyers from Belgium and the Netherlands organized by the Dutch Lawyers for Lawyers Foundation was held in the Philippines in November 2008 and was hosted by the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL). It found that lawyers and judges in the Philippines are still threatened, intimidated and killed which prevent them in carrying out their legal profession.
 

The IVFFM in its June 4, 2009 Final Report entitled “The Measures Measured,” recommended that the Philippine government should consistently condemn all forms of attacks against lawyers and judges publicly, at all levels and in strong terms; and the prosecution of all perpetrators with urgency and fervor. Dereymaeker, a member of the IVFFM, stressed that the IVFFM is also concerned about the filing of fabricated charges against lawyers and activists by government prosecutors and other forms of harassment which undermine the rule of law in the Philippines. The IVFFM strongly called on the Gloria Arroyo government to address the underlying root causes of the extrajudicial killings effectively and to leave no stone unturned in investigating the serious allegations that its own military forces are involved in the killing.
 

In another submission to the same IADL Commission on the Independence of the Judiciary, Professor Gill H. Boehringer, an Austalian lawyer reported on the Filipino Model of People’s Lawyering, referring to the active participation of human rights lawyers in using their legal knowledge, training and skills to resist the repression and corrupt practices of the government that continues to further the interests of the rich and powerful. Boehringer stressed that the courage, in the face of harassment and threats, their obvious calm and thoughtful commitment of Filipino lawyers to the task of progressive lawyering is inspiring.
 

In a separate presentation to the IADL Commission 2 on Anti-Terrorism Laws, NUPL Deputy-Secretary for International Solidarity Work Atty. Edre U. Olalia discussed a legal opinion on the Legitimacy of National Liberation Movements in International Law and Their Use of Armed Force. Earlier, NUPL Secretary General and now Philippine partylist Congressman Neri Colmenares delivered a submission to the IADL Commission 6 on Accountability for International Crimes about the Writ of Amparo.
 

The IADL is an association of democratic lawyers, judges, jurists, law teachers and law students from some 100 countries. The XVIIth congress theme is “Law and Jurists in the Context of Globalization: for peace, development and independence of judicial activities.” The IADL congress, which will last until June 10, also tackles the issues of Independence of the Judiciary, Right to Peace, Anti-Terrorism Laws, Accountability for International Crimes, Globalisation, and Development and Environmental Rights. A 9-member delegation of Filipino lawyers from NUPL is actively participating in the Congress in Hanoi.
 

(Reference: Edre U. Olalia, NUPL Deputy Sec. Gen. for Int’l Solidarity Work, +639-267202844)

 

           
           
Atty Neri Colmenares presenting a paper on the Extra Judicial Killings and Writ of Amparo Atty. Jan Fermon of Belgium
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17TH Congress
General Assembly of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers

RESOLUTION CONDEMNING RAMPANT HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS AND IMPUNITY,
PROTESTING THE PRESENCE OF US TROOPS,
AND CALLING FOR THE RESUMPTION OF FORMAL PEACE TALKS IN THE PHILIPPINES

WHEREAS, the Philippines has become a flashpoint of intensified violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed by the Philippine government in the context of the armed conflicts with national liberation movements like the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the growing military presence of the United States in the country mainly through the US-Philippines Visiting Forces Agreement.


WHEREAS, since President Gloria Arroyo took over the Presidency in 2001, more than a thousand people have fallen victims to extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture and other violations reportedly perpetrated by state security forces in response to the growing protest and resistance movement against President Arroyo for graft and corruption, electoral fraud, human rights violations and foreign subservience;


WHEREAS, various Philippine and international human rights bodies and the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary and Arbitrary Executions has heavily criticized the Philippine government for its failure to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of these heinous human rights crimes and its continuing refusal to implement the various recommendations intended at curbing impunity in the country;
 

WHEREAS, the Philippine government has intensified political and legal persecution of critics, dissenters, social activists and people’s movements which it labels as “enemies of the state” or as so-called “terrorists”;
 

WHEREAS, more than forty lawyers and judges have been killed since President Arroyo came to power, including human rights lawyers who have been seriously attacked for providing legal services to victims of human rights violations, which violates the internationally recognized rights of the people to have access to courts, ventilate their grievances, and oppose state tyranny;
 

WHEREAS, there are ongoing peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) aimed at achieving a just and lasting peace by resolving the roots of the armed conflict by way of forging agreements on basic social, economic, constitutional and political reforms;
 

WHEREAS, the Government of the Republic of the Philippines has unilaterally suspended the formal meetings of the peace negotiations even as the current global and financial crisis which is causing more suffering on the Filipino people and the rampant violations of human rights and international humanitarian law underscore the need to advance the peace negotiations;
 

WHEREAS, attempts to achieve a just and lasting peace have been hindered by the persistent intervention of the United States government which has not only continued in providing military aid to a repressive Philippine government but has also deployed thousands of US troops in the Philippines as part of its efforts to maintain its interests and a strong military presence in the country and in the region;
 

NOW THEREFORE, the General Assembly of the XVIIth Congress of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers:
 

(I) EXPRESSES its most serious concern over the continuing deterioration of the human rights conditions in the Philippines and the refusal of the Philippine government to seriously investigate and prosecute its state security forces of these heinous human rights crimes;
 

(II) CALLS ON the Philippine government to immediately implement the various recommendations in stopping the impunity of the perpetrators;
 

(III) CONDEMNS the continuing attacks on lawyers and judges, especially lawyers providing legal services to victims of human rights violations; and
 

(IV) URGES the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Lawyers and Judges to make strong representations with the Philippine government to allow a fact finding mission to investigate these attacks on members of the legal profession in general and human rights defenders in general;
 

(V) CALLS for a stop to the undemocratic, persecutory and repressive labelling of human rights defenders, political activists, and the liberation movement in the Philippines as “enemies of the state” or “terrorists”;
 

(VI) EXTENDS its solidarity with the Filipino people’s call for a just and lasting peace; and
 

(VII) URGES the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines to resume formal talks in the peace negotiations based on previous agreements; and
 

(VIII) URGES the United States government to cease providing any and all military aid to a repressive Philippine government and to desist from any military intervention in the country especially the deployment of troops.
 

Commission on Peace . Attys. Osamu and Pastores
Commission Report on Peace by Atty. Rachel Pastores
NUPL's Atty. Edre Olalia reading his paper
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