The International Association of Democratic Lawyers joined Lawyers for Lawyers together with 151 international and domestic bar associations, other lawyers’ organizations and legal professionals from 49 countries around the world to call on the Government of the Philippines to take all necessary measures to stop the attacks against and extrajudicial killings of lawyers and to end the culture of impunity in which these attacks occur.
The petition initiated by Lawyers for Lawyers and co-signed by bar associations, other lawyers organizations and legal professionals from 49 countries in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South America expressed deep concern over the increasing attacks against lawyers in the Philippines and the oppressive working environment they face since the start of President Duterte’s administration.
Extrajudicial killings and attacks against lawyers escalating
Since President Duterte took office on June 30, 2016, the number and intensity of attacks against lawyers have increased significantly. At least 41 lawyers and prosecutors were killed between July 2016 and 5 September 2019, including 24 practicing lawyers. In addition, at least five judges and retired judges have been murdered since July 2016, bringing the total number of jurists extrajudicially killed in the Philippines to at least 46 in the same period. Eight jurists survived attacks on their life.
Lawyers are also harassed and intimidated. They are subjected to (death) threats, surveillance, labelling, and other forms of attacks. Most killings and attacks of lawyers took place as a result of discharging professional duties or are believed to be work-related.
War on Drugs and Impunity
The attacks and the extrajudicial killings of layers, prosecutors, members of the judiciary and of other human rights defenders in the Philippines during the past three years have occurred within the context of the so-called war on drugs and are being carried out across the country in an apparent climate of institutional impunity.
International legal community calls on Duterte Government to protect Filipino lawyers
The petition calls on the Duterte Government to adequately protect the safety and independence of lawyers in accordance with the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers and to take all necessary measures to prevent extrajudicial killings, to carry out independent investigations and to hold perpetrators accountable.