NUPL seeks UN rights body action vs ‘vicious’ red-tagging of lawyers, rights advocates in PH
MANILA, Philippines — The National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) has asked for the intervention of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights amid the attacks and red-tagging of human rights lawyers and advocates in the Philippines.
In its 14-page submission to UN Human Rights Office, the NUPL noted that human rights lawyers are tagged as “’destabilizers’, ‘leftists’, ‘communists’, and ‘terrorists’ by State forces and their allies in media and the private sector.”
“(The) lawyers’ groups critical of the government of President Duterte have also been a subject of red-tagging by military and law enforcement agencies,” the group said.
In its recommendation, NUPL asked the UNHCHR and the UN Human Rights Council to pass a resolution or undertake appropriate measures to help stop the intense vilification and vicious red-tagging of the NUPL and other human rights lawyers and groups.
NUPL appealed to the UN offices to “initiate an independent fact-finding mission or a Commission of Inquiry on the continuing rights violations which are in open contravention of the Philippine government’s commitments to various pertinent international covenants and in breach of its pledges before this Council.”
The group cited the placing of posters at the entrance of a hotel in Tacloban depicting NUPL Chairperson Neri Colmenares and NUPL President Edre Olalia as well as the NUPL itself as communists.”
It likewise mentioned how Major General Antonio Parlade, Jr. “persistently and publicly tagged NUPL and its members as communists and terrorists.”
Parlade is leading the military’s campaign against communism.
Further, the group noted that 44 lawyers have been killed in the country since President Rodrigo Duterte took office in 2016.
“The motives behind the killings vary; at least 15 of the killings have been linked to the lawyers’ work in prosecuting human rights violation and defending alleged drug offenders,” the NUPL said.
The group added that there were at least five “frustrated/attempted murders” from July 2016 to November 2019 against human rights lawyers in the country.
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