Tag Archives: International Association of People’s Lawyers

The Philippines: Rights lawyers pay tribute to ‘fallen heroes’

October 20, 2019

“Marami palang Ben dito.”

This was the statement of Clarissa Ramos, wife of slain Negros-based human rights lawyer Benjamin Ramos Jr., as his colleagues from the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers paid tribute to their “fallen heroes” on Oct. 19.

Ramos was shot dead in the evening of Nov. 6, 2018 in Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental. He served as the go-to lawyer for the farmers and other poor of Negros. Among the last cases he handled was the case of the infamous Sagay 14 massacre.

Read: Rights lawyer gunned down in Negros

Clarissa accepted a painting from Ben’s colleagues who gathered here in Rizal Park Hotel in Manila for the 5th National Congress of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL).

“I urge the lawyers here to continue genuinely fighting for the people. Ben would always say there is nothing wrong with organizing and there is nothing wrong in defending the oppressed,” said Clarissa, adding that it is the “people will be the judge of our history.”

Apart from Ramos, the NUPL also paid tribute to lawyers Manuel Tan, Ramon Te, and slain lawyers Rodolfo Felicio and Concepcion Brizuela, one of the victims of the Ampatuan massacre. (https://www.bulatlat.com)

Rights lawyers pay tribute to ‘fallen heroes’

https://www.fidh.org/en/issues/human-rights-defenders/philippines-killing-of-human-rights-lawyer-benjamin-ramos

Lawyer Rodolfo Felicio killed

http://manilastandard.net/opinion/columns/eagle-eyes-by-tony-la-vina/293568/a-matrix-of-evil-lies.html

https://lawyersforlawyers.org/en/lawyers/connie-brizuela/

Lawyers’ group starts buildup of cases vs Duterte

https://www.euronews.com/2019/10/23/philippine-vp-says-time-for-duterte-to-halt-failed-drug-war

https://nupl.net/

Attacks on Filipino Lawyers and law workers 23 Sept 19 (IAPL MONITORING COMMITTEE REPORT)

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Tribute to Atty. Benjamin T. Ramos, Jr. and other NUPL Heroes

(National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers Facebook, 19/10/19)

IAPL SOLIDARITY STATEMENT TO NUPL CONGRESS

On the occasion of the  5th Congress of the National Union of People’s Lawyers, the International Association of People’s Lawyers sends best wishes for a productive meeting.

In solidarity, we salute the brave human rights lawyers of the NUPL who have chosen the path of resistance to tyranny, carrying on the struggle for social justice through juridical and other avenues.

You will be discussing issues of great importance and of universal significance for all organizations seeking to further the cause of social justice and the  fulfillment of the promise of the rule of law: “Unifying Our Ranks to Strengthen the Protection and Advancement of Human Rights in the Face of Adversity” under the theme:  “Conquering Challenges in People’s Lawyering”.

It is a mark of the maturity and sophistication of the NUPL that you have chosen this opportunity to gather together to reflect upon your collective capacity to achieve the aims of the NUPL under the extreme repression you face collectively and individually.

In this era of global state terror and corporate dominance of civil society, lawyers are in the frontline around the globe, bearing the brunt of authoritarian state power. Thus the NUPL has been for years subject to attacks of many kinds ranging from assassination through trumped up charges to defamatory red tagging. At this momentous Congress you will be remembering those members who have fallen to the guns of assassins who act with impunity, and we join you in paying respect to those fallen colleagues.

But take pride in your achievements, and the NUPL’s determined, brave resistance. You are a lighthouse showing the way to the lawyers of the world. The NUPL is now legendary, a model for those in other countries where lawyers for human and environmental rights and social justice are being hunted down and executed.

When the Duterte regime is in the ashcan of history, the NUPL will be there for the people.

Prof. Gill Boehringer

Prof. Stuart Russell

Co-Chairs, IAPL   October 18, 2019

No photo description available.

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The Philippines: Czarina Musni struggles for justice in the Philippines

October 14, 2019

Czarina Musni struggles for justice in the Philippines

The UN Human Rights Council recently adopted a resolution which expresses great concern on the human rights situation in the Philippines. In particular with regard to the reported extrajudicial killings and violations targeting critics and human rights defenders, including lawyers. ,,Today, being a lawyer for the defenseless makes you a target”, responded Edre U. Olalia, president of the National Union of Peoples Lawyers of the Philippines.

One of his brave fellow fighters is Czarina Musni, also a member of the Union of People’s Lawyers in Mindanao (UPLM): ,,We welcome the UN resolution to investigate the rampant and numerous killings in the Philippines, as well as the incidents of extra-judicial killings of activists, peasant and indigenous peoples leaders and human rights defenders”, she says in an online interview with Lawyers for Lawyers. ,,This would show the world how the regime uses brute force, power and influence to silence his critics.”

We shall not falter

She outlines the current deterrent situation: ,,As lawyers we face constant threats and vilification for the human right cases we handle. Because of their demands, our clients are tagged as ‘terrorists’, as ‘communists’, or as ‘enemies of the state’.  And so are we, their lawyers. But we take these branding as our badges of valor, as we stand with and for the Filipino masses who call for justice and equality.”

And she continues without self-censorship: ,,We shall not be intimidated. We shall not falter. We shall go forth and defend our clients. Even if we have to do so to the death.”

The resolution requests the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to provide a detailed report on the situation of human rights in the Philippines. What should be in that report?

Czarina Musni struggles for justice in the Philippines

https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/10/article/one-foot-in-the-grave-for-philippine-activists/

https://nupl.net/

Attacks on Filipino Lawyers and law workers 23 Sept 19 (IAPL MONITORING COMMITTEE REPORT)

The Philippines: Duterte’s New War

October 11, 2019

In the Philippines, the president’s latest war is claiming the lives of farmers, activists and political opponents.

END KILLINGS. Human rights groups condemn the killings under President Rodrigo Duterte. File photo by Jire Carreon/Rappler

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s “war on drugs” has been blamed for thousands of alleged extrajudicial killings.

Now, the president is waging another bloody war – this time against a communist rebellion.

In November last year, Duterte declared a state of emergency on the island of Negros, ordering military and police reinforcements to launch operations against the New People’s Army.

But many allege the victims have not just been rebel fighters.

Rights organisations say they have documented more than 80 alleged extrajudicial killings of farm workers, human rights advocates and lawyers on Negros since Duterte came to power in 2016.

Ben Ramos, a human rights lawyer who represented poor farmers, was shot late one night in November last year.

His wife, Yesha Ramos, blames the Duterte government for his death.

“I feel so mad, I feel so sad, I feel just really angry,” she tells 101 East. “It was the state forces. Taking the life of a person who is very innocent, who has been very supportive of farmers, is not an answer.”

https://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/101east/2019/10/dutertes-war-191011053006171.html

https://www.rappler.com/nation/242191-un-expert-philip-alston-duterte-drug-war-arbitrary-power

Amid unsolved killings of lawyers, attack on another in Capiz shows boundless impunity

https://www.dw.com/en/dissent-unwelcome-in-the-philippines-vice-president-leni-robredo/a-50723669

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/presidents-orders-1246986

“If They Are Stubborn, Then We Will Kill Them”: Inside Rodrigo Duterte’s War on Drug Suspects in the Philippines

https://www.cnnphilippines.com/news/2019/10/11/Amnesty-International-drug-war-Duterte-ninja-cops.html

https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/10/article/one-foot-in-the-grave-for-philippine-activists/

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/tao-po-london-tickets-73515640259

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2019/10/philippines-end-war-drugs-following-national-police-chief-resignation/

Attacks on Filipino Lawyers and law workers 23 Sept 19 (IAPL MONITORING COMMITTEE REPORT)

Pakistan: 10th DAY OF THE ENDANGERED LAWYER 2020 (24-01-2020) WITH THE FOCUS ON PAKISTAN: A struggle to protect Pakistani lawyers, especially against Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism — BASIC REPORT

October 9, 2019

Background

Over the past several years lawyers in Pakistan have been subjected to acts of mass terrorism, murder, attempted murder, assaults, (death) threats, contempt proceedings, harassment and intimidation in the execution of their professional duties.  They have also been arrested, detained or tortured, and in some cases the family members of the murdered lawyer have also been murdered.  Some lawyers have been threatened with disbarment or had their homes raided by the police.  Sometimes Christian lawyers or members of minority sects have been assaulted or threatened with death.  The most notorious attack on Pakistani lawyers occurred on August 8, 2016 when terrorists attacked the Government Hospital of Quetta with a suicide bombing and shooting which resulted in the death of 56 lawyers.  Since there has been an alarming increase in the number of lawyers murdered, with nine reported over the past year.  More recently Saif-ul-Malook received serious death threats for representing Asia Bibi, who had been sentenced to death for blasphemy, as a result of which he was forced to flee temporarily to the Netherlands.

The perpetrators of these attacks have been terrorists, religious zealots, the police and unreported sources. There have also been reports that pro-government militias (which still exist today) have been behind some of the murders, and in some cases lawyers have been killed because they are Shia. In response to these repeated attacks, Pakistani lawyers frequently strike, demonstrate, protest and hold boycotts.

The life of an Advocate is at risk the moment he or she takes up a case. It does not matter if it is the opposing party or the very party that the lawyer is representing.

By its constitution of 1956, the official name of Pakistan is the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. More than 96% of Pakistan’s 197 million citizens (2017) are Muslims, and Islam is the state religion, the overwhelming majority of whom are Sunni Muslims.  Pakistan  has also an important minority of Shi’ite Muslims as well as a number of other minority religions, including Christianity, whose followers are subjected to discrimination, violence and death, especially the misuse of blasphemy laws.  Among countries with a Muslim majority, Pakistan has the strictest anti-blasphemy laws.  The Pakistan Penal Code punishes blasphemy (Urdu: قانون توہین رسالت‎) against any recognized religion, providing penalties ranging from a fine to death.  From 1967 to 2014, over 1,300 people were accused of blasphemy, with Muslims constituting most of those accused.  Between 1987 to 2017 at least 1,500 people were charged with blasphemy and at least 75 people involved in accusations of blasphemy were killed in Pakistan according to the Center for Social Justice.

Many people accused of blasphemy have been murdered before their trials were concluded, and prominent figures who opposed the blasphemy law have been assassinated.  In fact since 1990, 62 people have been murdered following blasphemy allegations.  According to one religious minority source, an accusation of blasphemy commonly exposes the accused, police, lawyers, and judges to harassment, threats, attacks and rioting.

Violence and the threat of violence are omnipresent in Pakistan, and according to the Ministry of Interior terrorism poses a significant threat to the people of Pakistan. The current wave of terrorism is believed to have started in 2000 and peaked during 2009.  According to a 2018 report by Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, 23,372 Pakistani civilians and 8,832 Pakistani security personnel had been killed in the war on terrorism.  Pakistan is said to be a safe haven for a number of terrorist groups, including Al-Qaeda, it has been accused of giving aid to the Taliban and hosting terrorist camps, and therefore it is responsible for state-sponsored or state-condoned terrorism.

Pakistani law is based upon the legal system of British India, thus ultimately on the Common Law of England and Wales.  There are six Bar Councils in Pakistan which came into being as a result of enactment of Legal Practitioners and Bar Councils Act 1973. These Bar Councils regulate legal professionals across provincial, territorial and national levels.  They include the Bar Councils of: Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, Islamabad, Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, as well as the Pakistan Bar Council, the national Bar association.

The cases mentioned in this report have been documented by Pakistani lawyers, the International Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL), Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC), Zykyria Muiloo and the European Bar Human Rights Institute (IDHAE).

DOTEL2020Pakistan.BasicDocumentDraft.TS-SR.25.9.2019

https://defendlawyers.wordpress.com/2019/09/26/pakistan-day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-global-bodies-worry-over-pakistani-lawyers-safety/

https://concernedscientists.org/2019/10/pakistan-academic-still-incarcerated-for-blasphemy-for-the-past-five-years/

https://www.oneindia.com/india/no-escaping-pakistan-has-failed-to-curb-terror-funding-may-remain-in-greylist-2960748.html

DAY OF THE ENDANGERED LAWYER – 24 January 2020 – PAKISTAN

https://defendlawyers.wordpress.com/2019/06/22/pakistan-day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-january-24-2020-pakistan/

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http://www.asianews.it/notizie-it/Asia-Bibi-parla-per-la-prima-volta:-Giustizia-per-le-vittime-innocenti-di-blasfemia-47895.html (ITALIANO)

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Pakistan/Day of the Endangered Lawyer: Alleged police highhandedness: KP lawyers observe strike

October 1, 2019

Lawyers continue strike, demand suspension of SDPO

The legal fraternity on Monday observed a strike across the province to protest the police officer’s highhandedness with a lawyer in Chitral district.

Like other parts of the province, the lawyers observed a strike in the provincial capital and sought action against a police officer in Booni Police, Rajab Ali. The lawyers observed the strike on the call of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Bar Council to condemn and protest the police officer’s alleged inhuman attitude to a senior lawyer.

In a statement, the KP Bar Council alleged that the police officer had illegally taken senior lawyer Syed Burhan Shah Advocate to his office, confined him illegally and tortured him physically and mentally. The bar council recalled that the same police officer had recently misbehaved with Saghir Khan Advocate, a former president, Swabi Bar Association.

In the statement, the bar council demanded a departmental inquiry against the police officers and sought punishment to him under the law. The bar council condemned, what it said was, brutal action of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police against the peaceful protesting doctors in Peshawar.

 

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/534455-alleged-police-highhandedness-kp-lawyers-observe-strike

Lawyers continue strike, demand suspension of SDPO

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/535999-lawyers-in-chitral-protest-torture-of-colleague

https://www.dawn.com/news/1508257

Strike held in KP against police manhandling of Chitrali lawyer

https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/10/06/pakistan-end-ordeal-blasphemy-defendants

https://www.dw.com/en/junaid-hafeez-why-is-pakistani-scholars-blasphemy-case-receiving-scant-attention/a-50722310

http://www.kpbarcouncil.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khyber_Pakhtunkhwa_Bar_Council

DAY OF THE ENDANGERED LAWYER – 24 January 2020 – PAKISTAN

https://defendlawyers.wordpress.com/2019/06/22/pakistan-day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-january-24-2020-pakistan/

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#Strike….

The Punjab Bar Council strongly condemns the untoward incident that took place in Distt Hospital Toba Tek Singh, on the instigation of Medical Superintendent DHQ T T Singh, in which the officials of the DHQ illegally & immorally detained the President & lawyers of Bar Association T T Singh. In condemnation of the aforesaid act and showing solidarity with the aggrieved lawyers of Toba Tek Singh the lawyers of Faisalabad division will observe a full day strike on 03-10-2019.

Ch Shah Nawaz Ismail Gujjar
Vice Chairman
Punjab Bar Council

Iftikhar Ibrahim Qureshi
Chairman Executive Committee
Punjab Bar Council.

(Punjab Bar Council Facebook, 02/10/19)

The Punjab Bar Council strongly condemns the untoward incident that took place in Distt Hospital Toba Tek Singh, on the instigation of Medical Superintendent DHQ T T Singh, in which the officials of the DHQ illegally & immorally detained the President Bar Association T T Singh.
The Punjab Bar Council also condemns the illegal, immoral & disgraceful act of the M S DHQ which warrants a criminal as well as a departmental inquiry against the culprits.

Ch Shah Nawaz Ismail Gujjar
Vice Chairman
Punjab Bar Council

Iftikhar Ibrahim Qureshi
Chairman Executive Committee
Punjab Bar Council.

(Punjab Bar Council Facebook, 01/10/19)

 

Day of the Endangered Lawyer

The Philippines/UN: An appeal for safety of lawyers and judges

September 30, 2019

Concern over the escalation of attacks against lawyers and judges in the Philippines has prompted the issuance by lawyers’ organizations worldwide of the statement reproduced hereunder: It is hoped that our Philippine government and our justice system heed the recommendation.

‘The Philippines: Attacks against lawyers escalating’

“September 17, 2019—We, the undersigned organizations, lawyers and members of the legal profession, express deep concern over the increasing attacks against lawyers in the Philippines and the oppressive working environment they face since the start of President Duterte’s administration. We call on the Duterte administration to adequately protect the safety and independence of lawyers and end the culture of impunity in which these attacks occur.

Extrajudicial killings and harassment of lawyers

Since President Duterte took office on June 30, 2016, the number and intensity of attacks against lawyers have increased significantly. At least 41 lawyers and prosecutors were killed between July 2016 and September 5, 2019, including 24 practicing lawyers. Lawyers are also harassed and intimated. They are subjected to (death) threats, surveillance, labeling and other forms of attacks. In addition, at least five judges and retired judges have been murdered since July 2016, bringing the total number of jurists extrajudicially killed in the Philippines to at least 46 in the same period. Eight jurists survived attacks on their life.

Lawyers at risk

Most killings and attacks of lawyers took place as a result of discharging professional duties or are believed to be otherwise work-related. Especially at risk are lawyers representing people accused of terrorist or drug-related crimes, or government critics, such as journalists, political opposition leaders, and human-rights defenders. Lawyers providing legal representation in high-profile cases impacting established interests, such as land reform, or lawyers taking part in public discussion about human-rights issues, also face reprisals.

An appeal for safety of lawyers and judges

Locsin: ‘UN is not free to interfere with the state’

https://www.rappler.com/nation/241322-locsin-united-nations-not-free-interfere-when-country-goes-tough-against-crime

https://www.rappler.com/about-rappler/about-us/241314-rappler-investigation-into-war-on-drugs-wins-2019-global-shining-light-award

http://www.asianews.it/news-en/The-number-of-murdered-environmental-activists-hits-peak-under-Duterte-48090.html

Filipino lawyers attacksed Sept 2019 (IAPL MONITORING COMMITTEE REPORT)

Pakistan/Day of the Endangered Lawyer: Lawyers on strike September 30th after lawyer assaulted

September 28, 2019

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(Punjab Bar Council Facebook, 29/09/19)

https://tribune.com.pk/story/2065225/1-global-bodies-worry-pakistani-lawyers-safety/

https://eldh.eu/2019/07/25/day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-24-january-2020-pakistan/

https://defendlawyers.wordpress.com/2019/06/22/pakistan-day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-january-24-2020-pakistan/

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Day of the Endangered Lawyer