Locsin on ICC case vs Xi: ‘Do not dilute concept of human rights’
MANILA, Philippines — “Do not dilute the concept of human rights cause when you do that, you discredit it, you make it look like nothing,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said as he countered the case filed by former Philippine government officials against Chinese President Xi Jinping and two others before the International Criminal Court (ICC).
“As a matter of principle, I do not like to dilute what human rights mean,” Locsin said in an interview with CNN Philippines on Tuesday when asked for a comment on the ICC complaint filed by former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales.
Two days before the Philippines formally withdrew from the ICC, Del Rosario and Carpio-Morales filed a “crimes against humanity” case against Xi before the ICC over “atrocious actions” of the Chinese government within Philippine territory.
The two former Philippine officials filed the complaint, technically called a communication, on behalf of Filipinos, including hundreds of thousands of Filipino fishermen “persecuted and injured” by China’s aggressive island-building and occupation of islands in the West Philippine Sea.
However, Locsin said that, when talking of Filipino fishermen’s livelihood, it would be “another category” from human rights.
“Human rights mean singling out people, killing them for their beliefs, their race, their religion. Their political persuasion. That’s human rights violation when you do that,” he pointed out.
While the country’s top diplomat expressed disagreement with his predecessor and the former ombudsman, he said that the Philippines is “free country” and “everyone is entitled to file anything.”
He further said in a later tweet that he respects del Rosario and Carpio-Morales “very much.”
“And don’t forget, Del Rosario gave us the Hague tribunal victory on which we have anchored our national honor,” he added in a separate tweet.
Locsin was referring to the 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) which favored the Philippines after it filed a case challenging China’s sweeping claims of nearly the entire South China Sea, including the West Philippine Sea.
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