IBP, CHR remind lawyers of oath to uphold law, human rights
The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and various alternative legal groups urged lawyers on Monday to stand by their oath to be advocates of justice and human rights amid President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs which triggered a spate of killings in the country.
“Now, more than ever, the legal profession is behoved not only to participate, but to actively intervene in the perceived disregard of the rule of law and seeming attack on democratic institutions,” IBP President Atty. Abdiel Fajardo said in a press conference in Pasig City.
Fajardo said the death of 91 individuals, including 17-year-old Kian Delos Santos, in what was tagged as “the bloodiest One Time Big Time” drug operations of the National Capital Region, Bulacan and Cavite, were proof of the “increasing societal violence and spate of killings in the country.”
These killings, he said, had prompted IBP to look into supervising and capacitating lawyers to provide legal services to victims of human rights violations and their families, especially to the poor and marginalized.
“While many lawyers decry these atrocities, no concrete actions are being taken either due to lack of channels to reach out to the victims or lack of capacity to take on the peculiarities that accompany the handling of these kind of cases,” Fajardo said.
Noting that strengthening the legal community is the primary way to ensure access to justice, the IBP, along with other law groups, is set to conduct its Human Rights Summit on Nov. 23 to 24 at the SMX Convention Cente in SM Aura, Taguig City.
Also present during Monday’s press conference were the Free Legal Assistance Group (Flag), Alternative Law Groups (ALG), Artikulo Tres, Center for International Law (Centerlaw), National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), Association of Law Students of the Philippines (ALSP), and the Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services (Ideals).
The groups are currently providing legal services to victims of human rights violation and extrajudicial killing through documentation, education, and case building, among others. /cbb
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