Groups call for rejection of Roque nomination to UN body
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY––Civil society organizations have launched a petition calling on the International Law Commission (ILC) of the United Nations to reject the nomination of presidential spokesperson Harry Roque as one of its members.
The online petition was initiated by the group In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND) and has been carried on its website.
President Duterte last June nominated Roque to be one of eight ILC members from the Asia-Pacific region with a five-year term starting on Jan. 1, 2023.
The states who nominated members are Japan, China, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Cyprus, India, Sri Lanka, Mongolia, and Lebanon. Bahrain backed the nominee from Lebanon.
The UN General Assembly established the ILC in 1947 to “initiate studies and make recommendations for… encouraging the progressive development of international law and its codification.”
The next set of ILC members will be elected by the General Assembly during its 76th session this November.
In starting the petition, iDEFEND said Roque “lacks the moral and ethical integrity to work in such a prestigious global mechanism and demonstrates questionable qualifications and expertise as an international legal expert.”
The group added that Roque has a “record of contemptuous pronouncements against concepts and principles of human rights as well as international treaties … (that) may stain the reputation of the ILC before the international community.”
As of noon on Wednesday, the online petition has gathered 5,137 signatures from individuals and 88 from organizations, among them, Focus on the Global South, Duyog Marawi Inc., Balaod Mindanaw, and Child Alert Mindanao.
The petition letter cited, among others, how Roque, a human rights lawyer and a University of the Philippines Law professor, transformed from being a stinging critic “towards being an apologist” of Duterte when he joined the Cabinet.
“He has defended many of the government’s repressive policies, not least the extrajudicial killing of thousands of suspects in the government’s war on drugs, often using his legal knowledge to justify the widespread violence and human rights violations happening in the Philippines,” the letter read.
The letter also pointed to Roque’s “failure in promoting and upholding human rights principles, the rule of law, and truthful representation of facts.”
“We have concerns that the ILC may, unfortunately, bestow such an important post to a person who flaunts a blatant disrespect for the rule of law and human rights, which are the very foundation of the United Nations,” it added.
“Throughout its history, the Philippines takes honor and pride in being able to contribute to the advancement of the objectives of the United Nations, including the codification of numerous human rights instruments and guidelines. In the interest of protecting this legacy, we humbly submit that the ILC rejects his nomination for membership,” the petition said. Ryan D. Rosauro, Inquirer Mindanao
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