ATTY ROQUE: JOURNALIST KILLINGS ARE VIOLATIONS OF INTERNATIONAL LAW


Media Release
Reference: Prof. Harry L. Roque Jr. 09175398096

 

The Center for International Law (Centerlaw), a civil society group aiming to strengthen the binding nature of international law in the country, condemned the shooting of CNN cameraman Jonathan Olden at 5:15am Thursday.

 

29-year old Olden, who worked as an assistant cameraman for CNN, was on his way to work when he was gunned down in Imus, Cavite. Police have yet to identify his assailants.

 

Atty. Harry Roque, Jr, a University of the Philippines law professor and chair of Centerlaw, says that in addition to the shooting being a violation of both the constitutional right to life and the right to freedom of expression, this extrajudicial killing also constitutes another breach of a state obligation to protect and promote human rights under international law.

 

“The mere killing of one journalist is the ultimate violation of the right to freedom of expression under Article 19 of the ICCPR and Article 19 of the UDHR– since it is permanent censorship,” according to Prof. Roque, citing the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

 

In the 2014 UN Conference on the Safety of Journalists sponsored by the European Council and UNESCO, Secretary Leila de Lima admitted that the country’s conviction rate for extralegal killings remains at 1%. The United Nations’ Alston Report on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions in the Philippines, notes that the Aquino government has continued this gross irresponsibility, in breach of the duty to protect and promote the right to life, because of a lack of political will to prosecute those behind these killings.

 

“This is why impunity persists in the country,” Prof. Roque said. “And that is also why it is all the more important for the next administration to stop this cycle of continuous violence against our journalists.”

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