March 17, 2019
(National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers Facebook, 17/03/19)
18 March 2019
International Lawyers Delegation Findings:
Killings and reprisals restraining lawyers from fully and freely exercising their profession; Calls for stop to attacks of their peers and brethren
An international delegation of lawyers organized by the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), Union of International Advocates (UIA), and Day of the Endangered Lawyer Foundation who arrived in the Philippines to look firsthand into the targeting of lawyers and other legal professionals shared their initial findings today at a press conference at the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.
After a series of marathon interviews and conferences in Metro Manila and Iloilo with victims and their families, government and non-governmental offices and bar associations, the team of lawyers from Belgium, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands and the US made some initial findings, among others:
(a) That at least 37 members of the legal profession have been killed in the exercise of their duties and profession;
(b) As a consequence of President Duterte’s “war on drugs,” lawyers who defend those accused of drug crimes are maligned and subjected to real threats of attack;
(c) Red-tagging lawyers resulted to harassment, surveillance, loss of employment and killing; and
(d) That the practice of filing fabricated charges to pressure, harass, discredit and intimidate lawyers is prevalent.
The group also concluded that these have created a climate of fear and intimidation preventing or obstructing lawyers, judges and prosecutors from exercising their profession.
Members of the Delegation raised concerns over patterns suggesting a connection between the killings of lawyers and the actions of the police and the military.
The group humbly put forward a list of initial recommendations in their sincere desire to protect their peers and brethren, to ensure the independence of judges and lawyers, and to uphold basic due process for all, including those of critics and dissenters.
It called on their colleague the President to refrain from publicly attacking fellow lawyers and urged him to publicly condemn all attacks against lawyers and other members of the legal profession and to abide by the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.
The Delegation was participated in by the Confederation of Lawyers in Asia and the Pacific (COLAP), National Lawyers Guild (NLG) of the US, Progress Lawyers Network (PLN) of Belgium, Italian Democratic Lawyers, Japanese Lawyers for International Solidarity and Action (JALISA), and MINBYUN-Lawyers for a Democratic Society of Korea.
It is also supported by the
Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers of UK, European Lawyers for World Human Rights and Democracy (ELDH), Dutch Lawyers for Lawyers, European Democratic Lawyers (AED), Hellenic Union of Progressive Lawyers (HUPL) of Greece, Italian National Bar, Dutch League of Human Rights and the International Association of Peoples’ Lawyers (IAPL).
The Delegation would come up with a full report forthwith and will submit their findings to international bodies, governments and international organizations.###
c/o 09159074183 firstname.lastname@example.org