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IADL RESOLUTION SUPPORTING LEGAL COUNTERMEASURES AND OTHER ACTIONS TO HOLD ACCOUNTABLE VIOLATORS OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE PHILIPPINES

 

Whereas, the human rights situation in the Philippines continues to worsen amid a global pandemic, with massive violations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), among others, committed in the name of President Rodrigo Duterte’s militaristic strategy in combating COVID-19;

Whereas, thousands of Filipinos have been unlawfully arrested without warrants and detained based on cynical misapplication of quarantine protocols and other COVID-19 related laws since the start of the community lockdowns;

Whereas, state forces used the COVID-19 pandemic as an unacceptable excuse to muffle the sufferings and discontent of the people by stifling freedoms of speech, of expression, and of peaceable assembly;

Whereas, the Philippine Congress, instead of passing urgent medical relief laws on mass testing as well as effective response to the pandemic, has opted to impose a draconian Anti-terror Law under Duterte’s endorsement, that stifles free speech, discourages, suppresses and criminalizes dissent under expansive definitions of “terrorism or inciting to terrorism”, and imminently threaten civil society activists and organizations, dissenters and critics without due process of law through blanket executive warrantless arrests, prolonged detention without charges, unilateral proscription of associations, among others.

Whereas, the Duterte government has also used the Covid 19 crisis to intensify the vilification and red-tagging of critics, non-governmental organizations and human rights defenders, including people’s lawyers, particularly our Philippine affiliate the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) and its key officers and members, by unleashing a vicious wave of witch hunt and anti-communist hysteria online, in the media, and in the communities.

Whereas, extrajudicial killings of drug suspects and activists continue in the midst of the pandemic.

Whereas, there is an urgent need to put an end to these attacks on the people’s rights and to make the Duterte government accountable for trampling on the constitutional rights of the Filipino people and for violation of international human rights law,

Therefore, it is hereby Resolved, that the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), by and through its Council, convened in virtual session, from 32 national and regional associations representing 58 countries:

1. Demand a stop to the illegal arrests of dissenters, critics, activists, human rights defenders, including lawyers, media and ordinary people;

2. Support the national and international legal countermeasures initiated or to be initiated by the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers and other organizations to make President Duterte and other human rights violators accountable;

3. Endorse the recommendations of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in its 4 June 2020 Report and of the 31 UN human rights experts in its 25 June 2020 Joint Statement and continue to actively engage the United Nations Human Rights Council, the International Criminal Court, the United Nations General Assembly and other international mechanisms in seeking accountability for the violations committed by the Duterte government and state forces; and

4. Support pertinent legislative initiatives, executive measures, diplomatic steps and people’s actions in our respective countries to address the human rights violations and stop the impunity, including tying and vetting trade, military and security aid and agreements to the Duterte government’s compliance with its international obligations and pledges on human rights. #

June 28, 2020