Filipino fishermen sue China before UN
Rosette Adel (Philstar.com) - September 24, 2015 - 2:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Filipino fisherfolk who rely on waters near the disputed Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal submitted an appeal to United Nations against state agents of the People's Republic of China.

In the urgent appeal penned by Center for Law Philippines counsels Harry Roque Jr. and Gilbert Andres, 16 fishermen residing in the coastal town of Infanta, Pangasinan and Sta. Cruz, Zambales accused the Chinese of violating their human rights.

The fishermen said they are physically prevented from conducting their means of livelihood by Chinese Coast Guard and other maritime agencies of China that patrol the fishing areas around the shoal, also known as Bajo de Masinloc. The Chinese officers are distinguished by their orange uniforms and markings on the maritime vessels they use.

The Chinese authorities threaten their livelihood with water cannons and "no fishing" warnings and deprive them of shelter during inclement weather, the fishermen added.

The petitioners said the Chinese violated their rights to an adequate standard of living, food and life.

"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 said in the appeal addressed to the UN body.

The fisherfolk's lawyers noted China's international obligation under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and customary international law in stating their request.

In June, the Center for Law legal counsels also filed urgent appeal against Chinese coast guards for the fisherfolk of Subic and Masinloc Zambales.

RELATED: Filipino fishers to appeal to UN vs China 'rights violations'

On Thursday, Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. also called on the government to ask China to stop harassing Filipino fishermen.

"The first item in the agenda is to ask China to stop harassing our fishermen because they are just fishing and have no other motive in going there; it's international waters anyway," Marcos said.

"Let's make an arrangement with China that we will talk about fishermen only and not the contentious issue of who owns the territories. I think China will agree to that arrangement. That's one big step," he added.

BAJO CHINA CHINESE COAST GUARD HARRY ROQUE JR. AND GILBERT ANDRES IN JUNE INTERNATIONAL COVENANT LAW PHILIPPINES MARCOS JR. MASINLOC ON THURSDAY QUOT
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