KATHMANDU, Nepal — Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares was elected founding vice president of the Confederation of Lawyers in the Asia-Pacific (COLAP), which was organized here during a three-day international conference of lawyers, judges, prosecutors, law professors and students.
“COLAP as an organization is a fruition of the six conferences of lawyers in the Asia-Pacific region that were convened by the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) every five years beginning 1988 in India,” Rep. Colmenares said, also the president of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL).
More than a hundred participants representing twenty two countries are attending the conference.
The last conference, COLAP V, was held in Manila in 2010 and was hosted by the NUPL.
Elected as founding officers of COLAP are the following: President Jitendra Sharma (India), Vice Presidents are Colmenares (Philippines), Hari Phuval (Nepal), Abrar Hassan (Pakistan), Nguen Van Quyen (Vietnam) and Niloufer Bhagwat (India); Secretary-General Juan Sasamoto (Japan), Secretary Edre Olalia (Philippines), R.D.Milan (Nepal), Hasan Tarique Chowdhury (Bangladesh) and Le Thi Kim Thauh (Vietnam), and, Treasurer Yayoi Hasegawa (Japan). Olalia is also the concurrent NUPL Secretary General.
The three-day conference, which was formally opened June 17 by Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, tackled issues on Global and Regional Peace, Human Rights, Economic and Development Rights and Strengthening Democracy.
During his keynote address on Human Rights, Rep. Colmenares highlighted the fact that the “right to peace of all peoples in the world is as fundamental as all other basic rights.” The Commission was chaired by lawyer Duna Escio, NUPL Vice President for Luzon.
On the topic of global and regional peace, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate also presented a report that criticized the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the US and the Philippines as an “enhanced US intervention and a threat to peace on the Asia-Pacific Region.” Zarate is also an adviser of the NUPL.
“EDCA — like the other onerous military agreements entered into by the US with countries like the Philippines — is nothing but a tool to perpetuate its interventionist and hegemonist policy, particularly in the Asia-Pacific Region. This policy, then and now, has already spawned many conflicts, wanton destruction and untold sufferings to millions of poor peoples. This unjust, anti-peace and anti-people US policy must to come to an end,” Rep. Zarate told the conference.
Meanwhile, lawyer Cheryl Daytec-Yangot, an IP rights expert, also presented and discussed her paper on “Protecting the rights of Indigenous Peoples in Asia-Pacific: Salvaging Identity from Theoretical Conundrum: ASIA Indigenousness as a Construction of Structural oppression under the Rubric of Economic Globalization.” Yangot is also NUPL Deputy Secretary General for Research and Publications.
NUPL Negros Oriental Deputy President Sarah Villamor also read a discussion paper on “Ensuring equality of women in political participation and policy making”, by women’s rights advocate Alnie G. Foja, who served as rapporteur of the Global and Regional Peace Commission. Foja is also NUPL Deputy Secretary General for Protection of Lawyers.
Lawyer Escio and law student Reiaa Penol also facilitated the caucus of young lawyers and law students, a side event of the conference, which also aimed to forge a close coordination among the young members of COLAP. Penol, who is also NUPL Executive Director, was elected as co-coordinator.
The NUPL-Philippine delegation is composed of Rep. Colmenares, Rep. Zarate, Olalia, Escio, Foja, Villamor, Daytec, Janne Baterna, Edgar Carmona, Lourdes Zapanta, Professor Grace Saguinsin and law student Penol. -30-
Reference: Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate NUPL Adviser +639177174014