Posted by: nupl | November 11, 2007

LAWYERS CONDEMN ATTACK ON COLLEAGUES IN PAKISTAN: Demand Lifting of Emergency Rule

(UPDATE) Read the NUPL statement published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Opinion section on November 14, 2007.

*****

November 6, 2007

Press Release

The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers [NUPL] condemns the brutal arrest of at least 1,500 lawyers in Pakistan who were merely exercising their right to assemble and protest against the emergency rule imposed by Pakistani military chief and President Pervez Musharraf. The firing of teargas by the military on the Supreme Court of Pakistan is totally unacceptable because it is a blatant attack on the independence of the judiciary. We also condemn Pres. Musharraf’s declaration of emergency rule to quell ‘judicial activism’ and terrorism as nothing more than a blatant violation of the Pakistani peoples’ civil and political rights in his attempt to maintain his position as President.

NUPL urges Pres. Musharraf to respect the rights of members of the legal profession, even those opposed to his continuing hold to power as these are guaranteed rights under international law. Section 3 of the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, adopted by the 1990 UN Congress on Prevention of Crime states that :

3. Lawyers like other citizens are entitled to freedom of expression, belief, association and assembly. In particular, they shall have the right to take part in public discussion of matters concerning the law, the administration of justice and the promotion and protection of human rights and to join or form local, national or international organizations x x x

Section 1 of The Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary endorsed by the UN General Assembly Resolution 40/32 in 1985 also requires governments’ respect for the judiciary:

1. The independence of the judiciary shall be guaranteed by the State x x x It is the duty of all governmental and other institutions to respect and observe the independence of the judiciary.

NUPL calls on members of the legal profession in the Philippines to actively condemn these brutal attacks on colleagues in Pakistan and show solidarity to those who are experiencing repression similar to that committed against Filipino lawyers by Pres. Gloria Arroyo. Twenty lawyers and twelve judges have been killed since Pres. Arroyo came to power in 2001. More than 38 cases of harassment and attacks against lawyers have been recorded including the harassment of a lawyers’ rally protesting Pres. Arroyo’s declaration of emergency rule last year.

NUPL, a national organization of human rights lawyers, urges Pres. Musharraf to lift the emergency rule, respect human rights and allow the people to exercise their right to elect their President. NUPL join hands with concerned lawyers worldwide in condemning this latest attack on members of the legal profession for the exercise of the right to assembly and expression. #

Reference: Atty. Neri Javier Colmenares—Secretary General

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