PHILIPPINES: APPEAL FROM THE INTERNATIONAL LEGAL COMMUNITY IN SUPPORT OF FILIPINO LAWYERS
Tuesday, September 17, 2019
The IOLD and 150 national and international bar associations and legal professionals organizations from 49 countries have joined Lawyers for Lawyers call concerning the rise of attacks on lawyers in the Philippines and the oppressive working environment they have faced since the beginning of President Duterte’s mandate.
The petition, initiated by Lawyers for Lawyers and co-signed by 151 organizations, asks the Government to adequately protect the safety and independence of lawyers and stop the culture of impunity in which these attacks take place. It also asks the Philippine authorities to comply with the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers of the United Nations.
Since President Duterte took office on 30 June 2016, the number and intensity of attacks on lawyers has increased considerably. There are 24 lawyers and 10 magistrates killed in two years, and no suspects have been convicted. This responsibility of the Head of State is due to the fact that he urged the Filipino population to murder drug traffickers and drug addicts, guaranteeing impunity for the perpetrators of these murders.
Lawyers are harassed and intimidated. They are subject to threats, surveillance and several other forms of attacks. Most murders and assaults of lawyers take place in the course of their professional duties or are considered to be related to their profession. Lawyers representing people accused of terrorism or drug-related crimes and government critics, such as journalists, political opposition leaders and human rights defenders, are particularly concerned.