Filipinos file new appeal vs China before UN bodies

Paterno Esmaquel II
Filipinos file new appeal vs China before UN bodies
This new appeal comes as the Philippines prepares for oral hearings in its historic case against China before the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague, The Netherlands

MANILA, Philippines – Representing Filipino fishermen, two Filipino lawyers filed an urgent appeal before 3 United Nations (UN) bodies to stop China’s aggression in the disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

“We respectfully submit that you consider this urgent appeal in relation to the human rights violations committed against Filipino fisherfolks in the fishing grounds of the Scarborough Shoal (locally known as “Panatag Shoal” or “Bajo de Masinloc”) by the state agents of the People’s Republic of China,” lawyers Harry Roque Jr and Gilbert Andres said in an appeal filed on Wednesday, June 24.

“We request that you urgently intervene, remind, and direct China and its state agents to respect the human rights – including the right to livelihood, the right to adequate food, and the right to life – of the Filipino fisherfolks over their traditional fishing grounds and safe refuge in the Scarborough Shoal (Panatag Shoal or Bajo de Masinloc),” the lawyers added.

They cited “China’s international obligation under (a) the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, (b) the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and (c) customary international law.”

Roque and Andres addressed their appeal to the following UN officials:

  • Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
  • Hilal Elver, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food
  • Idriss Jazairy, UN Special Rapporteur on the Negative Impact of the Unilateral Coercive Measures on the Enjoyment of Human Rights

The lawyers said they – and the Philippine non-governmental organization Center for International Law Inc – represent 38 fishermen in Subic and Masinloc, Zambales.

They also named members of the Chinese Coast Guard, among others, as “perpetrators of the human rights violations.”

Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesman Charles Jose told Rappler the DFA has yet to study the appeal of Roque and Andres.

Their appeal comes as the Philippines prepares for oral hearings in its historic case against China before the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague, The Netherlands.

China rejects these arbitration proceedings while it conducts island building activities in the West Philippine Sea.

The Philippines, however, asserts that the arbitration case will provide a long-lasting solution to the decades-long maritime dispute. – Rappler.com

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Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.