Photo Credit: Philippine Inquirer

The following resolution was adopted on 25 October 2020, during the Council meeting of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers:

OMNIBUS RESOLUTION
ON THE DETERIORATING HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN THE PHILIPPINES AND THE INTENSIFICATION OF ATTACKS ON HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS AND PEOPLE’S LAWYERS

Whereas, the vilification and harassment of people’s lawyers, human rights defenders, and critics in the Philippines remain relentless;

Whereas, these attacks are perpetrated by members of President Rodrigo Duterte’s counter-insurgency  task force as well as by national security and law enforcement agencies – the same individuals and agencies that compose the Anti-Terrorism Council tasked to implement the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 (ATA);

Whereas, the Anti-Terrorism Act and its recently adopted Implementing Rules and Regulations trample on legitimate exercise of basic human rights and freedoms protected by the Philippine Constitution and international human rights law;

Whereas, the Duterte government adopted the Implementing Rules and Regulations amid the pendency of 37 petitions questioning the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, which include a number filed through the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers and its chapters, before the Supreme Court;

Whereas, the failure of the Supreme Court to issue any temporary restraining order or status quo ante order has allowed the Duterte government to proceed with the implementation of the anti-terror law, including the vexatious surveillance openly admitted by the military against our IADL Bureau member Neri Colmenares who is also the Chairperson of our affiliate the NUPL which is itself subjected to vicious vilification and dangerous red-tagging;

Whereas, the implementation of the anti-terror law would bolster Duterte government’s disregard of the human rights and further expose human rights defenders and activists to harm and dangers, such as unlawful arrests, illegal detention, and trumped-up legal actions;

Whereas, its implementation of the anti-terrorism law would also aggravate the current situation of political detainees who have been repeatedly mistreated by the Duterte administration, as seen in the case of urban poor activist Reina Mae Nasino who is currently detained on routine trumped-up charges;

Whereas, Ms. Nasino lost her three-month-old daughter as a result of the cruel, degrading and inhuman treatment by the court and the jail management bureau which have caused the painful and wrongful separation of the mother and child a few weeks after birth;

Whereas, these incidents reveal the worsening human rights situation in the Philippines, despite the assurances given by President Duterte and his officials to the United Nations General Assembly and Human Rights Council that they promote and respect human rights;

Whereas, the technical cooperation and capacity-building programs between and by the UN Human Rights Council and the Philippine government would be insufficient and ineffective in solving human rights violations in the Philippines;

Wherefore, it is hereby Resolved, that the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), by and through its Council convened in virtual session representing 34 national and regional associations representing more than 60 countries:

  1. Condemns the maltreatment of political detainees, particularly the case of Reina Mae Nasino and supports national and international legal remedies initiated or to be initiated by the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers and other organizations to hold accountable those who perpetrated such  injustice;
  2. Supports legal actions taken against the implementation of the anti-terror law and encourages other lawyers’ organizations and national bar associations to file amici curiae opinions in support of the 37 petitions, send communications or request trial observations  related to  the constitutionality of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020;
  3. Calls on the United Nations Human Rights Council and other international human rights bodies to conduct an independent, impartial investigation into the worsening human rights situation in the Philippines as well as support and join non-governmental initiatives in this regard;
  4. Organizes a delegation of IADL to monitor, inquire, update and make representations with the International Criminal Court, particularly the Office of the Prosecutor, in relation to the communications against President Duterte for crimes against humanity; and
  5. Demands in no uncertain terms the Philippine government and all its civilian and security agencies – in particular a certain Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. and other public officials- to immediately cease and desist the surveillance, harassment, threats and vilification of IADL Bureau member Neri Colmenares and his colleagues at NUPL, the NUPL itself, and other legitimate organizations and concerned individuals on pain of accountability before international bodies including the filing of suits under the principle of universal jurisdiction applicable in various countries. #

October 25, 2020