Reject Harry Roque, human rights lawyers urge UN law body
MANILA, Philippines — The Free Legal Assitance Group (Flag), which is composed of human rights lawyers, has urged the International Law Commission (ILC) to spurn presidential spokesperson Harry Roque’s attempt to join the United Nations body, saying his defense of President Rodrigo Duterte’s disdain for human rights made him “ill-suited” for the job.
Roque confirmed on Monday his candidacy to the ILC. He is currently in New York City to campaign for this position.
In a letter, Flag enumerated Roque’s actions as Duterte’s mouthpiece that contravened the principles of the ILC, which was established by the United Nations in 1947 to develop and adopt international law.
It said Roque, who was whacked by brickbats on social media last week for rudely admonishing a doctor during the meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, would only “tarnish” the post he was applying for.
“His public defense of extrajudicial killings, his belittling of the competence and jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, and his cavalier disregard of the effects of domestic violations of human rights … make him ill-suited for the work of the commission,” Flag said.
Flag, led by its chair, former law dean Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno, said Roque utilized his understanding of international law to “undermine the protections that international law provides under a regime of human rights and the rule of law.”
The Malacañang official, the group claims, would only use the ILC to promote himself and prop up his possible senatorial bid in next year’s national elections.
Although based in Geneva, Switzerland, ILC members are elected by the United Nations General Assembly, which is headquartered in New York.
Roque is one of the 11 candidates from the Asia-Pacific region, which is allotted eight seats in the commission.
He cited as his qualifications his long expertise in international law, which he taught for 15 years in the University of the Philippines (UP).
Roque also served as director of the Institute of International Legal Studies at the UP Law Center and served as president of the Asian Society of International Law.
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