The International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) passed a resolution on November 30 in its meeting in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam to ‘urge the Philippine government to commit to end extrajudicial killings in the “war against illegal drugs”’ and ‘end extrajudicial killings, illegal arrests and other human rights violations against the people and members of people’s organizations.’ The resolution also called for the respect of international human rights and international humanitarian law and to ensure the protection of human rights defenders, including human rights lawyers.
The meeting was attended by lawyers from Algeria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Costa Rica, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, North Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, South Africa, South Korea, United Kingdom, United States, and Vietnam.
The IADL has a consultative status in the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UN ECOSOC), one of the six principal organs of the United Nations. The IADL was founded on October 24, 1946 in Paris in a gathering of lawyers who had survived the war against fascism and participated in the Nuremberg Trials. Rene Cassin, a drafter of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, was named first IADL President.
The IADL also issued an emergency statement on the killing of two human rights workers in the middle of a fact-finding mission in Negros Oriental on November 28. In the statement, the group inquired if it is open season for human rights defenders after the termination of the peace talks. The group also called on the Philippine government to investigate the incident and bring perpetrators to justice.
The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) attended the IADL gathering. NUPL was invited to become a member of the IADL in 2007. Atty. Neri Colmenares and Atty. Edre Olalia serve as IADL Bureau members.
IADL RESOLUTION ON THE CURRENT PHILIPPINE SITUATION
WHEREAS, several credible reports and documentation indicate that human rights violations continue to escalate in the Philippines in the form of, inter alia, extrajudicial killings, illegal arrests, enforced disappearances, and internal displacement.
WHEREAS, according to various reports the number of individuals suspected to be involved in illegal drugs who apparently fell victims to extrajudicial or summary killings during the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte ranges from 8,000 to 12,000 dead. The Philippine National Police reported 3,900 related deaths as of October 2017. On top of this, according to human rights groups, at least 88 persons, mostly farmers, have reportedly been slain on suspicion of supporting the rebel New People’s Army as of August 31, 2017.
WHEREAS, a few days ago, a factfinding mission investigating reported human rights violations in Negros Oriental were fired at by armed men causing the death of two human rights defenders and the critical wounding of another. Human rights lawyers and members of our affiliate the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) and other human rights defenders have also been receiving threats for their human rights work and in October 2017, a paralegal aide of an NUPL member was murdered by unidentified armed men.
WHEREAS, President Duterte has openly shown intolerance of criticism and dissent when he publicly attacked not only mass organizations and the opposition but also the the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the Commission on Human Rights, the Ombudsman, the media and even the President of the Integrated Bar of the Philippine for what he perceived to be statements critical of him or his human rights record.
WHEREAS, President Duterte has abruptly terminated the peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines supposedly because of rebel attacks and that he does not want to form a “coalition government” with them, publicly called them “terrorists,” and labelled and threatened to arrest members of people’s organizations for protesting and on the claim of conspiracy with the rebels.
WHEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED AS IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED, by the Bureau of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), an organization with consultative status in the UN ECOSOC, during its Bureau Meeting in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam on November 29-30, 2017, attended by lawyers from Algeria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Costa Rica, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, North Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, South Africa, South Korea, United Kingdom, United States, and Vietnam, to urge the Philippine government to :
- commit to end extrajudicial killings in the “war against illegal drugs”;
- end extrajudicial killings, illegal arrests and other human rights violations against the people and members of people’s organizations;
- stop or abort any and all measures or plans in any form that are authoritarian and are violative of basic rights;
- seriously investigate, prosecute and end impunity of the perpetrators of human rights violations;
- be tolerant of dissent and to respect the rights of the people to freedom of expression, speech, assembly and association;
- ensure the protection of human rights defenders including human rights lawyers;
- respect international human rights law and consider human rights as universal and not an internal affair of a state but a concern of the international community; and
- respect international humanitarian law and resume the peace process and the resolution of poverty, injustice and the roots of the armed conflict with the National Democratic Front and pursue efforts to achieve a just and lasting peace.
Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
30 November 2017