HR lawyers to meet in Manila

Manila, September 8, 2010—Human rights lawyers from the Asia and the Pacific will convene in the SMX Convention Center, in Mall of Asia in Pasay City, come September 18 and 19 for the 5th Conference of Lawyers in Asia-Pacific (COLAP), organized by the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL).

Some 300 lawyers, law students, paralegal officers, and legal luminaries, local and foreign, will gather for the conference, bearing the theme “Human Rights and Peace Amidst Global Economic Crisis and Conflict.” Joining them are representatives from different human rights organizations as well as some members of the academe, advancing the cause of the protection of, and respect, for human rights.

In a statement, Atty. Edre U. Olalia, head of the Organizing Committee and deputy secretary general for International Relations of the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) said that attendees and speakers who have confirmed include IADL President Emeritus Jitendra Sharma (India), IADL President Jeanne Mirer (USA), IADL Secretary General Osamu Niikura (Japan), NUPL Chairperson Judge Romeo Capulong (Philippines), IADL First Vice President Roland Weyl (France), anti-Iraq war advocate Luis Roberto Zamora Bolanos (Costa Rica), IADL Deputy Secretary General Jan Fermon (Belgium), National Lawyers’ Guild (NLG) President David Gespass (USA), prominent civil rights lawyer Leonard Weinglass (USA), women’s rights advocate Nimalka Fernando (Sri Lanka), former Punjab chief justice Vijender Jain (India), attorney general Mahbubey Alam (Bangladesh), IADL representative to the UN in Vienna Evelyn Durmeyer (Austria), Justice secretary Leila de Lima (Philippines), and many others.  Philippine vice president and lawyer Jejomar Binay was invited to deliver the welcome remarks.

Olalia also said that part of the itinerary of the delegates is to visit the Morong 43, or the 43 health workers arrested in Morong town, province of Rizal due to allegations of rebellion. Olalia also said that they plan to seek an audience with Secretary De Lima to express their concern on the Morong 43 case and other political prisoners.

IADL is an NGO with consultative status with ECOSOC and UNICEF. The first COLAP was held in 1988 in New Delhi, India. COLAP II was held in Tokyo, Japan in 1991.  COLAP III was held in Hanoi, Vietnam in 2001. COLAP IV was held in Seoul, South Korea in 2005. (Written for