IADL expresses serious concern at its bureau meeting in Havana over human rights violations in the Philippines

Further to our unanimous resolution on June 10, 2005 in our 16th Congress in Paris where we condemned the attacks on members of the legal profession in the Philippines especially those servicing the poor and the oppressed, we, lawyers, jurists, and judges of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) hereby express our serious concern over the draconian measures and repressive measures being implemented in the Philippines.

More than a month after the declaration by Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of a “state of national emergency” through a Presidential Proclamation 1017 and General Order No. 5 on top of existing and impending laws, issuances and doctrines that are assailed as threats to fundamental freedoms, we sadly note that open violations of civil liberties, threats on press freedom and political persecution of dissenters and critics continue.

We are alarmed that invalid arrests and arbitrary detention based on questionable charges are foisted on the political opposition. It is unacceptable that progressive members of parliament who are critical of government are targets of political persecution.

We are concerned over public incitements to violence against those seeking out good governance, basic reforms and for a just and lasting peace through a public circulation of a “rogues gallery” in violation of  due process of law and the presumption of innocence.

We are bothered that the Philippine press is reportedly being closely monitored by the police and threatened with legal suits if they do not conform to government standards.

We continue to be disturbed that peaceful expressions of protests are violently and brutally broken up on the basis of a law and policy that effectively abridge freedom of assembly. We are appalled that in areas outside Manila, summary executions of unarmed activists, lawyers, progressives, and journalists have not abated and have escalated with impunity.

We disapprove of the demonization of certain patriots and liberation groups as “destabilizers” or “terrorists” even as we likewise view with serious concern the stalling of peace negotiations.

These reported measures and acts are serious transgressions of both national laws and international covenants to which the Philippines is a party.

We as lawyers reaffirm our commitment and solidarity with struggles upholding basic democratic rights including due process, freedom of speech, expression and the press, and the right of people to peaceably assemble and petition government for the redress of grievances.

The International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), consistent with “ensuring common action by lawyers to defend and promote human and people’s rights” express its serious concern over the state of civil liberties in the Philippines, strongly condemn the continuation of attacks against democratic rights of its people, and commit to undertake or support campaigns and actions to uphold basic human rights and the rule of law.

Havana, Cuba, 11 April 2006.


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