More than 40 lawyers and nearly 20 judges murdered
Unfortunately lawyers and judges in the Philippines have been threatened and murdered for years. International pressure has been exercised on the Philippine government in the past to address this problem, take steps to persecute the perpetrators and end this situation. However, the situation only worsened last year. Recent reports on attacks and murders of Philippine lawyers and even judges, prosecutors and law students show continuously increasing numbers. Only every now and then a single perpetrator is arrested, but hardly ever prosecuted or sentenced by court. Countless organizations from many different countries have made their stance on this issue clear to the Philippine government. To the threatened lawyers, their families, the victims it is unacceptable that the state fails to take its responsibility and fails to instate necessary measures in order to restore human rights in the Philippines.
Four years after Benigno Aquino III’s succession to Gloria Arroyo as president in 2010 we are mournfully forced to conclude that Aquino’s promise to no longer tolerate unlawful murders and disappearances, improve the functioning of the law and to strengthen the juridical system have been no more than empty promises; especially considering the number of attacks and murders since 2010. Only for the murder on judge Reynerio Estacio Senior, in the village of Tugbangan on February 28th 2014, a suspected shooter was arrested. This judge worked politically sensitive cases, in which police forces and political figures were involved.
The total number of human rights lawyers that were murdered since 2001 is over 40 already. Additionally, more than 50 lawyers have been threatened and attacked, nearly 20 judges murdered and another 5 attacked and threatened.
Belgium – Antwerp & Brussels
France – Paris
Germany – Berlin & Essen
Italy – Milan & Rome
Spain – Barcelona
The Netherlands – The Hague
Photos © 2015 Anneke Verbraeken
Turkey – Adana, Alanya, Ankara, Antalya, Bursa, İzmir & Istanbul
United Kingdom – London