Daily Archives: 22/03/2021

The Philippines: ICJ joins NGOs joint statement of concern for systematic human rights violation and impunity


The ICJ joined today seven other organisation in a statement before the UN Human Rights Council expressing concern at the systematic human rights violation and the persistent impunity in the Philippines and calling for more accountability.

The joint statement delivered by FORUM ASIA reads as follows:

“Madam President,

Nearly six months since its adoption, Human Rights Council resolution 45/33 offering technical assistance to the Philippines has proven to be utterly insufficient to address the systematic human rights violations and persistent impunity documented in the High Commissioner’s report. The Philippine Government’s policies and actions since the Resolution’s adoption have been completely at odds with the commitments outlined in it.

Extrajudicial killings in the so-called ‘war on drugs’ have continued. To date, the Government has made no tangible progress towards accountability against those most responsible for such killings. In December 2020, the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC found that there is “reasonable basis to believe that the crimes against humanity” of murder, torture, the infliction of serious physical injury and mental harm, and other inhumane acts were committed between at least 1 July 2016 and 16 March 2019.

Human rights defenders pursuing legitimate work, especially those who advocate for international accountability, including lawyers, continue to be attacked and accused of belonging to terrorist groups. Rights defenders continue to be arrested and jailed. The draconian Anti-terrorism Act, passed last year, exacerbates risks to defenders. The killing of nine human rights defenders and activists on 7 March, two days after President Duterte ordered the police and military to “finish off” and “kill” those purported to be “communist rebels”, illustrates clearly the persistent killings and attacks faced by activists and defenders. It is very clear that no amount of technical assistance or capacity building will end the killings as the President and top government officials continue to incite murder and violence as official policy.







Chang Weiping

On the morning of 11 March 2021, Chang Weiping’s lawyers went to the Gaoxin branch of the Baoji Municipal Public Security Bureau in Shaanxi province to submit a request to meet the human rights defender and an application to end the “residential surveillance at a designated location” (RSDL), under which the defender has been detained since October 2020. The lawyers also requested to see Xiang Xianhong, the deputy chief of the Gaoxin branch, to discuss details of the case. Xiang Xianhong was away at the time however, and spoke to the lawyers by phone.

That afternoon, Chang Weiping’s lawyers went to the Baoji Municipal Procuratorate and submitted a complaint against the Gaoxin branch of the Public Security Bureau for allegedly torturing Chang Weiping whilst detained under RSDL. The lawyers also requested that the procuratorate exercise its supervisory powers over the local public security bureau’s investigations into Chang Weiping. The procuratorate confirmed that it is yet to receive the case for prosecution review.

On 12 March 2021, Chang Weiping’s lawyers went to the Gaoxin branch again in a second attempt to meet Xiang Xianhong, however he was not present this time either. The lawyers spoke to him by phone again, but he refused to disclose any details in relation to the case. The lawyers then went back to the Baoji Municipal Procuratorate to follow up on their complaint the previous day, but were told that following “verification” with the police, the Procuratorate had concluded that Chang Weiping has not been subjected to torture by the public security bureau.








https://www.voachinese.com/a/Chinese-rights-lawyer-Chang-Weiping-family-fears-being-tortured-20201204/5687180.html (CHINESE)

At UN ICJ calls on Ukraine to ensure security of lawyers and judicial independence


Today, before the UN Human Rights Council, the ICJ called on Ukrainian authorities to ensure the security of lawyers and the independence of the judiciary, essential elements to make effective any human rights technical assistance and capacity building.

The statement reads as follows:

“Madame President,

In Ukraine, a number of lawyers, including those who defend human rights, in and outside of courts, including to face threats, harassment, and other attacks on their security.

Lawyers continue to be associated with their clients and may face detrimental consequences for representing them.

For example, in November 2020, lawyer Nikolay Osipchuk was physically attacked by the local Prosecutor and several other people in the court room of a district court. A pattern of such attacks was identified by the ICJ in a report issued last year.

The ICJ is further concerned at recent the attempts of interference by the Government with the independence of the judiciary in Ukraine.

The ICJ welcomes the withdrawal of the presidential draft law by which all judges of the Constitutional Court would have been dismissed. However, it is concerning that, following a criminal case initiated against him, the President of the Constitutional Court was suspended by a decision of the President of Ukraine. This decision, on dubious legal grounds, undermines the independence of the judiciary.

The ICJ urges that Ukraine:

  • Ensure prompt, thorough, impartial and independent investigations of all attacks on lawyers, leading where appropriate, to bringing those responsible to justice;