Philippines

In July 2006, an investigative report on attacks against Filipino lawyers and judges titled From Facts to Action 1 . From Facts to Action was published and presented findings of serious harassment, intimidation and killings of lawyers and judges in the Philippines as a result of the performance of their professional duties.

The report's conclusions indicated that human rights lawyers and judges are increasingly threatened, intimidated and killed and are not able to carry out their professional obligations and that there is a pattern in the harassment and killing of human rights lawyers and judges, as those killed appear to be members of left oriented groups and are labelled ' communists ' or ' enemies of the state ' by the military. The government has not condemned the killings publicly and the lack of response has led to a culture of impunity where more human rights violations may take place.

From Facts to Action: Report on the Attack Against Filipino Lawyers and Judges

 

On March 13, 2008, lawyer Edre Olalia made an oral statement to the 7th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, as a representative of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, Lawyers' Rights Watch Canada, the World Council of Churches, Asian Legal Resource Center, Asian Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Network, Indigenous Peoples' Coalition and Nord Sud XXI also supported the statement . Mr. Olalia, backed the recommendation of Hina Jilani, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, to examine the situation of human rights defenders in the Philippines in the UN's upcoming Universal Periodic Review (UPR).

In April 2008, the Law Society sent a letter to the UN Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in support of examining the situation of human rights defenders in the Philippines.

In November 2008, the Law Society announced its support for a fact-finding mission investigating the human rights situation in the Philippines.

Law Society supports fact-finding mission investigating human rights situation in the Philippines

The situation of attacks against lawyers in the Philippines has been ongoing for several years, as was outlined in a 2006 investigative report titled From Facts to Action . The report noted incidents of serious harassment, intimidation and killings of lawyers and judges in the Philippines as a result of the performance of their professional duties.

The Law Society of Upper Canada endorsed the recommendations for intervention in the 2006 report along with the Asian Human Rights Commission, Amnesty International, The Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales and Lawyers Rights Watch Canada.

Since the Law Society first learned of the grave human rights situation faced by judges and lawyers in the Philippines, it has regularly intervened through letters of intervention and endorsed the intervention efforts of external organizations.

Information about the situation of lawyers and judges in the Philippines was first brought to the Law Society's attention in a report of a fact finding mission conducted by Netherlands Lawyers for Lawyers Foundation in 2006. This same group is about to conduct a follow-up verification and fact-finding mission.

At present, the verification and fact finding mission scheduled for November 4-13, 2008 is supported by the Netherlands Bar Association, the Flemish Bar Association (Belgium), Amsterdam Bar Association, Netherlands Association for the Judiciary, Netherlands Judges for Judges Foundation, Netherlands Lawyers without Borders Foundation, the Integrated Bar of the

Philippines, and Lawyers' Rights Watch Canada.

1 The International Fact Finding Mission, From Facts to Action: Report on the attacks against Filipino lawyers and judges , released by the Dutch Lawyers for Lawyers Foundation, July 24, 2006.

Letter to Integrated Bar of the Philippines, November 30, 2006