17TH Congress

General Assembly of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers

RESOLUTION CONDEMNING RAMPANT HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS AND IMPUNITY,

PROTESTING THE PRESENCE OF US TROOPS,

AND CALLING FOR THE RESUMPTION OF FORMAL PEACE TALKS IN THE PHILIPPINES

WHEREAS, the Philippines has become a flashpoint of intensified violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed by the Philippine government in the context of the armed conflicts with national liberation movements like the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the growing military presence of the United States in the country mainly through the US-Philippines Visiting Forces Agreement.

WHEREAS, since President Gloria Arroyo took over the Presidency in 2001, more than a thousand people have fallen victims to extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture and other violations reportedly perpetrated by state security forces in response to the growing protest and resistance movement against President Arroyo for graft and corruption, electoral fraud, human rights violations and foreign subservience;

WHEREAS, various Philippine and international human rights bodies and the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary and Arbitrary Executions has heavily criticized the Philippine government for its failure to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of these heinous human rights crimes and its continuing refusal to implement the various recommendations intended at curbing  impunity in the country;

WHEREAS, the Philippine government has intensified political and legal persecution of critics, dissenters, social activists and people’s movements which it labels as “enemies of the state” or as so-called “terrorists”;

WHEREAS, more than forty lawyers and judges have been killed since President Arroyo came to power, including human rights lawyers who have been seriously attacked for providing legal services to victims of human rights violations, which violates the internationally recognized rights of the people to have access to courts, ventilate their grievances, and oppose state tyranny;

WHEREAS, there are ongoing peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) aimed at achieving a just and lasting peace by resolving the roots of the armed conflict by way of forging agreements on basic social, economic, constitutional and political reforms;

WHEREAS, the Government of the Republic of the Philippines has unilaterally suspended the formal meetings of the peace negotiations even as the current global and financial crisis which is causing more suffering on the Filipino people and the rampant violations of human rights and international humanitarian law underscore the need to advance the peace negotiations;

WHEREAS, attempts to achieve a just and lasting peace have been hindered by the persistent intervention of the United States government which has not only continued in providing military aid to a repressive Philippine government but has also deployed thousands of US troops in the Philippines as part of its efforts to maintain its interests and a strong military presence in the country and in the region;

NOW THEREFORE, the General Assembly of the XVIIth Congress of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers:

(I)              EXPRESSES its most serious concern over the continuing deterioration of the human rights conditions in the Philippines and the refusal of the Philippine government to seriously investigate and prosecute its state security forces of these heinous human rights crimes;

(II)           CALLS ON the Philippine government to immediately implement the various recommendations  in stopping the impunity of the perpetrators;

(III)        CONDEMNS the continuing attacks on lawyers and judges, especially lawyers providing legal services to victims of human rights violations; and

(IV)        URGES the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Lawyers and Judges to make strong representations with the Philippine government to allow a fact finding mission to investigate these attacks on members of the legal profession in general and human rights defenders in general;

(V)           CALLS for a stop to the undemocratic, persecutory and repressive labelling of human rights defenders, political activists, and the liberation movement in the Philippines as “enemies of the state” or “terrorists”;

(VI)        EXTENDS its solidarity with the Filipino people’s call for a just and lasting peace; and

(VII)     URGES the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines to resume formal talks in the peace negotiations based on previous agreements; and

(VIII)  URGES the United States government to cease providing any and all military aid to a repressive Philippine government and to desist from any military intervention in the country especially the deployment of troops.

Download: Philippines resolution.doc (31 KB)