Advocacy charter the Philippines
On 1 September 2022, Lawyers for Lawyers was present in Geneva to attend the pre-sessions for the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) for The Philippines organized by UPR-Info. Lawyers for Lawyers discussed the findings of our UPR submissions with several country delegations, and met many other civil society organisations. During the pre-sessions Lawyers for Lawyers submitted an advocacy charter to several country delegations to draw attention to the situation of lawyers in the Philippines.
In our UPR report, submitted in March 2022, Lawyers for Lawyers addressed concerns about the hindrance of lawyers’ abilities to prepare an adequate defense and threats, harassment, interference, surveillance and even the criminalization and extrajudicial killings of lawyers.
The safety of lawyers is already at risk for a long time. However, the number of extrajudicial killings and attacks on lawyers have not decreased during Duterte’s administration but have even reached a record high. A total of 66 lawyers were killed between 30 June 2016 and 31 December 2021. The Philippine authorities do not adequately investigate the assaults on and killings of practicing lawyers, therefore those responsible for red-tagging are not held accountable.
Before they are attacked, lawyers are often ‘red-tagged’, which means that individuals and organizations are being labelled as ‘terrorists’ or ‘communists’.Some lawyers have been labelled and placed by the Philippine authorities on so-called ‘drugs lists’ or military ‘hit lists’ based on their clients or clients’ causes. There is no possibility to be removed from those lists. Red-tagging has been institutionalised by the implementation of the Anti-Terrorism Act in 2020 which broadened the definition of a terrorist.
The UPR of the Philippines will take place in November.
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