18th IADL Congress calls for resumption of GRP-NDFP peace talks
The fifty-six countries attending the 18th Congress of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) in Brussels, Belgium made a major declaration today and approved a resolution on the Philippines that not only called on the Aquino government to end any negotiations granting military basing rights to the US but also the pull out of all US troops, facilities and material in the Philippines. The same resolution also called upon its member-countries to press for resolutions, legislation and campaigns urging an end to foreign intervention and aggression in the Philippines.
The UN-accredited IADL believes this violates both Philippine and international law and threatens the stability of the Asian region. The more than 400 lawyers attending the IADL Congress also urged the Philippine government to “cease all acts that violate human rights”, called for the release of all political prisoners including the peace process consultants and, in recognition of the call of the Filipino people for a just and lasting peace, urged for the immediate resumption of the peace talks between the government and the NDF.
“This is a major statement of the international community that the Aquino government cannot just disregard as it expresses the sentiments of a huge number of lawyers groups around the world and at the same time issued by a prestigious and respected UN-ECOSOC accredited organization” said Atty. Edre Olalia, Secretary General of the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) which represented the Philippines in the IADL Assembly.
Olalia and NUPL President and Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares were also elected by the IADL Congress to its governing Bureau to serve a 5-year term.
“The Aquino government ‘s refusal to heed the people’s call for a just and lasting peace while it pursues a war mongering policy by allowing the open entry of US military bases is getting the increasing attention of the international community, and rightfully so, Colmenares concluded. (nc)
Neri Javier Colmenares
Edre U. Olalia
NUPL Secretary General
Over Easter weekend, rights lawyers help resurrect hopes for just and lasting peace
Lawyers from various countries call for resumption of peace talks, release of peace consultants
The resumption of the peace talks and the release of National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) consultants Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria and other political prisoners was among the significant consensus highlighted at the 18th Congress of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) closing yesterday in Brussels, Belgium.
Earlier, the separate IADL Commissions on the Right to Peace and on the Right to Resist in their respective action points as well as the plenary IADL Resolution “urging accountability and action against human rights violations in the Philippines” also made similar calls.
Furthermore, the 12-member NUPL delegation painstakingly gathered signatures from more than two hundred lawyers, judges and other legal luminaries from fifty six (56) countries who individually signed a strongly-worded petition expressing concern over the “intensifying political repression” and human rights violations committed by the Aquino government including its “increasing intolerance” of dissent and protest by the people.
The lawyers who came from Asia and Europe as well as North and South America, Africa and Oceania called for a stop to political repression and persecution in the Philippines, and the release of all political prisoners, including all the consultants of peace negotiations, “in pursuit of a just and lasting peace” in the Philippines.
The petition demanded that the Aquino government “respect democratic rights” and “end political killings, harassment and attacks” against the people.
“With these IADL resolutions, reports and petition by hundreds of lawyers, judges, law professors and law students from a huge number of countries, the lack of respect for basic democratic right in the Philippines has further been brought within the radar of the international community,” said Bayan Muna Representative and NUPL President Neri Javier Colmenares, who was unanimously elected to the highest governing Bureau of the IADL. “Where the persecution of political prisoners heighten the pain of our Lenten suffering, international solidarity is a fitting cap for a time of hope for just and lasting peace,” he said.
NUPL Secretary General Edre U. Olalia, also unanimously re-elected to the IADL Bureau, said “Peace activists everywhere are registering their indignation over the arrest and persecution of Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria and other peace consultants, which have seriously imperiled peace talks of the Philippine government with the NDFP. The international community finds the filing of dubious and legally untenable charges as violative of basic criminal law principles against the Tiamson couple not only a threat to the peace process but also to due process rights recognized by all civilized nations.”
IADL counts among its members international lawyers associations such as the Japanese Lawyers International Solidarity Organisation, All India Democratic Lawyers Association, Arab Lawyers Union, Progress Lawyers Network of Belgium, Droit Solidarite of France, Giuristi Democratici of Italy, the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers of the United Kingdom, American Association of Jurists, Lawyers Rights Watch of Canada, and the National Lawyers Guild of the United States.
IADL, which paid tribute during the Congress to its President Emeritus Nelson Mandela, and to NUPL founding Chairperson Atty. Romy Capulong, is an association of progressive lawyers who use and change the legal landscape to promote peoples’ struggles all over the world. It has a consultative status with the United Nations through the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). (kc)