Human Rights Attorney Killed in the Philippines
NOVEMBER 16, 2018—The Filipino Bar Association of Northern California (FBANC) calls for an impartial investigation into the death of Benjamin Ramos, Esq. and the attacks on other human rights lawyers in the Philippines. FBANC holds eminent the rule of law in our distinguished profession. Hence, we are gravely saddened and overcome by the death of Mr. Ramos.
The New York Times, ABA Journal, and Human Rights Watch report that, as he was leaving his office, Mr. Ramos, a founding member of a legal organization that sheds light on the human rights abuses under Duterte’s administration, was gunned down on November 6, 2018. He is the 34th human rights attorney killed in the country since President Duterte took power.
Mr. Ramos dedicated his decades-long career to providing free legal services to the most marginalized in Philippine society, such as farmers, community development workers, political prisoners, and environmentalists. Through this work, he was an open critic of the displacement of peoples from their land and the extrajudicial killings supported by Duterte. The New York Times reports:
- In a speech in August 2017, Duterte told the national police not to be daunted by human rights lawyers investigating the thousands of deaths of what he called drug addicts and dealers. “If they are obstructing justice, you shoot them,” Mr. Duterte instructed the police, referring to lawyers.
It is not lost on FBANC that we have the privilege to practice in a country where the rule of law is entrenched in the fabric of our democracy. We stand with our sisters and brothers, who hold inviolable the rule of law in executing justice.
Board of Directors
Filipino Bar Association of Northern California