Asia-Pacific Lawyers Oppose the Election of Harry Roque, Jr to the UN International Law Commission

The Confederation of Lawyers in Asia and the Pacific (COLAP) opposes the candidacy of Herminio “Harry” Roque, Jr, the spokesman of Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte, to the UN International Law Commission. COLAP stands in solidarity with the Human Rights defenders in the Philippines, and particularly, with its member, the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) , who are actively opposing Roque’s bid to be elected to the UN body.

As spokesman of President Duterte, Harry Roque, Jr. has publicly rationalized extrajudicial killings in the so-called War on Drugs, humored his principal’s misogynist remarks, enabled political repression including weaponization of the law, scowled against legitimate criticism and dissent, intimidated members of media, berated and insulted health professionals critical of failed pandemic measures, undermined international accountability bodies like the International Criminal Court and the UN Human Rights Council, its mechanisms and treaty bodies, and downplayed or justified many official actions of dubious legal and constitutional validity. citing the September 14, 2021 press statement of the NUPL.

Harry Roque, Jr. is instrumental in propping up the regime of President Duterte with all its human rights abuses, extrajudicial killings, disdain for the rule of law and contempt against UN human rights bodies like the International Criminal Court. In fact, based on the recent report of the World Justice Project, the Philippines has slipped further down in the Rule of Law Index to the 102nd spot this year, under the Duterte government. Its ranking in Fundamental Rights has also slipped down to the 123rd rank.

The inclusion of Harry Roque, Jr, Duterte’s spokesman, in the UN International Law Commission would be a great disservice to all the victims of human rights violations in the Philippines including the human rights defenders who were murdered, arrested and red tagged under the regime of President Duterte.

We shall ask and lobby our respective governments and their diplomatic missions to deny Mr. Roque this further mockery of international law by not giving him their votes.

We call on the international community of lawyers, and defenders of human rights and the rule of law, to oppose the bid of Roque to be elected to the UN body, and to stand in solidarity with the Filipino people who are suffering under the oppressive regime of Duterte.