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