(SPOT.ph) Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed on June 17 that he was nominated by President Rodrigo Duterte and Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. for a seat at the International Law Commission. He also said on Monday, September 13, that he's currently in New York to campaign for the position. But similar to the stance of various civil society orgnizations that are protesting this nomination since August, the Free Legal Assistance Group sent a letter addressed to the International Law Commission (ILC) and all member states of the United Nations to express their objection.
Every five years, the United Nations General Assembly elects 34 individuals from different nations to hold a position in the ILC. They're responsible for helping develop and implement international law; and are expected to be "persons of recognized competence in international law." With the term of office expected to expire at the end of 2022, a long list of candidates nominated by member governments were submitted to the Secretary General on June 1. A total of 11 candidates are vying for eight Asian seats.
The Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG), which is the "oldest human rights lawyers network in the Philippines" formed in 1974, pointed out that Roque "does not possess the qualifications for a seat at the ILC. While he has degrees in law and has taught Public International Law, he is a political partisan who has actively demonstrated contempt for the rule of law and, with specific relevance to the Commission, has undermined the supremacy of human rights and international law. These are shown by his public pronouncements," the group said in a letter.
Documentations include Roque's public stance about the so-called drug war of the Duterte administration, sexist and rape jokes made by the president during his public addresses, the detention of Senator Leila de Lima, and his reaction towards government critics. FLAG also cited the spokesperson's statement when he "associated human rights groups to drug lords." All citations include the platform, date, statement, context, and link for reference.
The document was signed by FLAG chair Chel Diokno, Metro Manila regional coordinator Theodore O. Te, and other coordinators from the different Philippine regions.
People Can Send Their E-mails to the United Nations, Too
Former GMA reporter Marvin Tomandao, in a now viral tweet, clarified that all 193 member states of the United Nations—and not the sixth committee—will be voting the new members of the ILC. "I just received a report from a friend who works in the UN that their office's inbox has been flooded," he said.
This was after people sent in their letters of protests about Roque's nomination to the UN Assembly assigned with legal matters. The best way to letting the member states know about such objection is by sending an e-mail to all 193 member states via bluebook.unmeetings.org. "As for the Philippine Mission, you can try to reason with them why Roque's candidacy to the ILC needs to be withdrawn. Withdrawal is the fastest way, of course," he added.
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