The international lawyers’ group called on the Government of the Philippines and the NDFP to resume the negotiations based on their previous agreements “to earnestly, patiently and sincerely address and comprehensively resolve the underlying social, economic and political reasons for the armed conflict and resistance.”
By RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA – An international group of lawyers called on the Philippine government to punish perpetrators of human rights violations and continue peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.
“We…firmly reiterate our call to the present Philippine government to hold past and present perpetrators of human rights violators accountable,” the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) said in a resolution dated May 27. A copy of the resolution was sent to Bulatlat.com by the National Union of Peoples Lawyers (NUPL), an affiliate of the IADL.
Founded in 1946, the IADL has consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The resolution was adopted during the meeting of IADL’s governing bureau in Paris, France. NUPL secretary general Edre Olalia sits in the governing bureau of the group.
“We particularly challenge it [Philippine government] to do everything to immediately arrest and prosecute Gen. Jovito Palparan Jr. who is the representative of the most horrendous abuses of human rights,” the IADL said. “The continued failure to hold him accountable demonstrates the continuing impunity of extrajudicial killings, disappearances, torture and other violations.”
Palparan, along with three other military officials, have been charged with kidnapping and serious illegal detention in connection with the enforced disappearance of University of the Philippines (UP) students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan. A warrant of arrest has been issued by a local court against Palparan in December 2011, but authorities have failed to arrest him.
The IADL deemed that human rights violations, including the continued detention of hundreds of political prisoners and the orchestrated filing of trumped-up charges against mass leaders and activists, also impact on the peace negotiations.
The group called on the Government of the Philippines and the NDFP to resume the negotiations based on their previous agreements “to earnestly, patiently and sincerely address and comprehensively resolve the underlying social, economic and political reasons for the armed conflict and resistance.”
In its resolution, the IADL also denounced what it calls as “the continuing open violation by the United States of the national sovereignty of the Filipino people through its intervention in various forms including unhampered military presence and effective basing and in exploiting the internal and regional conflicts to advance its imperialist interests.”
“We vow to ensure that the above issues conform to international standards of human rights and international humanitarian law in our common pursuit for justice, peace, democracy and the right to self-determination,” the worldwide organization of democratic lawyers said.