Civil Rights Groups Call For Congressional Investigation Into Blacklisting Of Human Rights Lawyers By The Philippines
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, December 8, 2006
The civil rights and legal organizations, the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR)
and the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) call on Congress to investigate the Philippine
government’s banning of U.S. lawyers who have been active in investigating and reporting on human rights violations.
These groups are concerned about what appears to be an attempt to suppress exposure of extrajudicial killings and other
human rights violations that are being perpetrated against critics of the regime of Philippine President Gloria
On December 6, 2006, International Labor Rights Fund attorney Brian Campbell was detained and turned back at the Manila
airport when he arrived from the U.S. en route to Cebu City for an international human rights conference. Campbell had
been invited by Philippine organizations to discuss the ongoing extrajudicial killings and meet with victims’ families.
While detained, Campbell was able to glance at a list of persons banned from entering the Philippines, on which he
noticed not only his own name, but also those of Rachel Lederman and Tina Monshipour Foster. Lederman and Foster were
part of a delegation of women lawyers who visited the Philippines earlier this year to investigate political repression
there. The delegation garnered much media coverage in the Philippines, and recently released a report, Seeking Answers:
Probing Political Persecution, Repression and Human Rights Violations in the Philippines, Report of the Women's Human
Rights Delegation of the Center for Constitutional Rights, the National Lawyers Guild and the International Association
of Democratic Lawyers. Rachel Lederman, Merrilyn Onisko and Vanessa Lucas represented the NLG and IADL on the
delegation, while Tina Monshipour Foster represented the Center for Constitutional Rights.
The NLG/CCR/IADL report exposes the Philippine military’s role in the assassination of nearly 800 people, including 80
women organizers and leaders, since Gloria Macapagal Arroyo took power in 2001. In addition, the report exposes as a
sham the government’s ongoing attempt to prosecute six progressive members of congress for rebellion. The legislators,
who include Gabriela Women’s Party representative Liza Maza, have been successful in exposing government corruption and
opposing Arroyo- and U.S.-backed repressive measures. For the past year, they have been fighting charges accusing them
of conspiring with other above ground left leaders to overthrow Arroyo. The joint organization report recommended that
U.S. Congress investigate the use of U.S. funding for Philippine military operations against the legal Left that are
being conducted under the guise of the War on Terror.
The NLG/CCR/IADL will not bow to intimidation, and will continue to speak out for the activists, community leaders,
lawyers, women and all the brave people of the Philippines who must live under the oppression of the U.S.-sponsored
Arroyo government. The “blacklisting” of NLG, CCR and other human rights lawyers concerned with the repression has only
made us more determined to call world attention to the increasing threats to Philippine democracy. We call on the United
States Congress to look into the banning of Rachel Lederman, Tina Monshipour Foster and other U.S. human rights lawyers,
as well as the misuse of U.S. aid to support human rights violations in the Philippines.
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