Investigate human rights abuses in PH, NUPL urges UN
MANILA, Philippines — The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) has called on the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Human Rights Council (HRC) to initiate a fact-finding mission that will investigate human rights violations in the Philippines, as it submitted its first report to the OHCHR on Monday.
In the same submission, the group also sought a resolution that would put a stop to the “Red-tagging” of its members and other human rights lawyers by government security forces.
The document is in response to the OHCHR’s open invitation to provide information on the human rights situation in the country, in line with the HRC’s adoption of a resolution in July that asked UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet to write a comprehensive report on the Philippine situation.
In its report, NUPL outlined the killings and other threats to lawyers in the country under the Duterte administration.
From July 2016, it had recorded at least 44 lawyers killed.
“Human rights lawyers have been tagged as —destabilizers,’ “˜leftists,’ “˜communists’ and “˜terrorists’ by state forces and their allies in media and the private sector,“the document read.
NUPL said these attacks have hampered lawyers, judges and other legal professionals from freely exercising their profession.
“Lawyers have been afraid to take on the prosecution of human rights violations and defense of alleged drug offenders for fear of reprisal from state forces,“it said.
Aside from NUPL, the Ecumenical Voice for Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines also submitted its own report to the HRC.
In their submission, they highlighted the “sham drug war [and] the shrinking civil society and democratic space.“As this developed, church bells will peal at 10 a.m. on Tuesday to mark Human Rights Day.““
About 5,000 protesters will join protest actions on Panay Island on Tuesday to decry the worsening attacks against political dissenters in the country.
The biggest protest will be held in Iloilo City.—With a report from Nestor P. Burgos Jr.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.