The Philippines: Attacks against lawyers escalating
7 August 2019

The Philippines: Attacks against lawyers escalating

Philippines

*Last updated 16/09/2019

Lawyers for Lawyers is deeply concerned 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 harassment of lawyers

Since President Duterte took office on June 30, 2016, the number and intensity of attacks against lawyers have increased significantly. At least 40 lawyers and prosecutors were killed between July 2016 and 29 July 2019, including 24 practicing lawyers. Lawyers are also harassed and intimidated. They are subjected to (death)threats, surveillance, discrediting, and other forms of attacks.

Sharp deterioration of human rights

The attacks against lawyers, as well as prosecutors, members of the judiciary and the extrajudicial killings 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.

Resolution to launch independent investigation

Lawyers for Lawyers welcomes the resolution of the United Nations Human Rights Council in which it urges the Government of the Philippines to carry out an independent investigation into the extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances and to hold perpetrators accountable, in accordance with international norms and standards, including on due process and the rule of law.  

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