International lawyers call on Duterte admin to protect, not attack legal practitioners

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
totalITemsFound:
maxPaginationLinks: 10
maxPossiblePages:
startIndex:
endIndex:

A delegation of international lawyers called on President Rodrigo Duterte and his administration to refrain from publicly attacking lawyers, amid a spike in human rights violations against legal practitioners in the country.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 18) — A delegation of international lawyers called on President Rodrigo Duterte and his administration to refrain from publicly attacking lawyers, amid a spike in human rights violations against legal practitioners in the country.

Representatives of groups including the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, the International Association of Lawyers, and the Day of the Endangered Lawyer Foundation -- reviewed 13 incidents of reported attacks against lawyers in the Philippines.

They interviewed government officials, civil society organizations, victims and their families. They were unsucessful in their attempt to meet with the police and military.

In its preliminary findings, the international lawyers' delegation concluded there were "severe human rights violations" comitted against legal professionals which increased during the Duterte administration.

The report also cited Duterte's statement on August 2016: "If they [lawyers] are obstructing justice, you shoot them."

"Duterte's declarations and almost complete impunity of offenders give police, military, and effectively anyone a license to harrass and kill," it read.

It added the government should end the practice of "red-tagging" legal practitioners and publicly disclosing drug lists.

Malacañang said the lawyer's deaths could not be attributed to the President, and insisted that the administration has not attacked any lawyer "in any way."

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines raised the number of lawyer's killings to 38, after lawyer Rex Jasper Lopoz was shot dead in Tagum City, Davao del Norte on March 13.

READ: IBP: 38 lawyers killed since August 2016

Suzanne Adely of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers said, "President Duterte and his administration should refrain from publicly attacking lawyers and instead publicly condemn all attacks against lawyers, prosecutors, and judges at all levels and in strong terms."

CNN Philippines' Correspondent Anjo Alimario contributed to this report.