The International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) is a non-governmental organization with consultative status before the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC).  IADL was established in 1946 to support and uphold international law, more specifically to uphold the goals of the United Nations Charter to peaceful resolution of disputes and the rights of nations to development, economic equality and access to scientific achievements as well as their own natural resources.

IADL has for many years called for the peaceful resolution of disputes in the South China Sea in accordance with international law, as these disputes pose a threat to regional and international peace, security, stability, co-operation and development.

IADL is aware of recent provocative escalations of tensions in the South China Sea which negatively affects the maritime security and safety in the region. These escalations which should be of great concern of the international community include: (i) in April 2019 there was an increased presence of Chinese ships around Thi Tu island – a disputed area with the Philippines in April 2019; (ii) In May 2019 China’s coastguard vessels were patrolling around the Luconia Shoals, which lies within the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of Malaysia.

Most notably, since the beginning of July 2019, China lets oil survey vessel Haiyang Dizhi 8 and its escorts operate illegally in the EEZ and continental shelf of Vietnam in the South of South China Sea. This act has clearly violated the sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction of Vietnam as stated in UNCLOS 1982.

IADL requests that China promptly stop violating the sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction of Vietnam, stop carrying out activities that further complicate the situation and increase tension between related parties and begin to concentrate on building mutual trust to maintain the security, peace and stability in the South China Sea in particular and in the region in general.

IADL requests related parties to respect and adhere to the Declaration of Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (DOC) as well as early establish and implement the Code of Conduct (COC), which is legally binding and based on international laws.  IADL prefers the total demilitarization of the South China Sea region but short of that, IADL emphasizes the importance and necessity of strictly adhering to the international law, especially the UNCLOS 1982, which prohibits the use of force or threat of using force, to maintain freedom of navigation and aviation in South China Sea. IADL urges related parties to resolve disputes by peaceful means on the basis of international laws to preserve peace, stability and security in the region.