Re: AFP's statement on MILF child-warriors

By KABIBA Alliance for Children's Concerns, Inc.

Posted at Sep 15 2008 04:22 PM | Updated as of Sep 16 2008 02:41 AM

Re: AFP's statement on MILF child-warriors
 
“The Armed Forces of the Philippines has run-out of alibis but to justify their atrocities to children civilians by declaring the victims as “collateral damage” and worst, branding these innocent moro children as MILF child-warriors,” according to KABIBA Alliance for Children’s Concerns’ executive secretary, Honey May Idul-Suazo.
 
The escalation of armed conflict between AFP and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) continues to intensify in Central Mindanao displacing more than 360,000 moro civilians and still increasing as of the moment in which children are mostly affected. “Children are not spared from being killed or hit by bullets, shrapnels, or bombed and alongside become easy targets of military offensives by tagging these children as warriors of MILF,” Suazo added.
 
There are already 21 civilians reportedly killed, 7 of which are children; while 13 are wounded including 7 children due to indiscriminate firing and dropping of OV-10 bombs by the military particularly under the command of 601st Infantry Brigade operating in the area.
 
“The military’s nonsensical and unjust war against the Bangsamoro people is deplorable as they intendedly jeopardize the protection and survival rights of the children-victims while desecrating the sanctity of Ramadhan,” the KABIBA executive secretary stated.
 
KABIBA and other child rights groups challenge AFP’s callous allegations, that an impartial and independent probe should be conducted by responsible stakeholders in order for these alleged children will be protected rather than castigated as they are concrete victims of state violence. In the Philippine context, cases of children who were involved in armed conflict are distinctive rather than isolated. This raises the concern of children’s right to participation as a last resort in defense of their culture, religion and ancestral territories against politico-economic aggression instigated by the State in cohort with the state forces in facilitating the entrance of multi-national corporations.
 
But KABIBA highly stressed that, “we are not condoning with arming and/or recruitment of Filipino children to become child warriors. They should be protected at all times and not be the object of attack as mandated by the national laws and International Humanitarian Law (IHL), while the Arroyo regime will always be held accountable on the basis that the Philippines is a state party to United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).”
 
“Nonetheless, Ms. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in cahoots with the fascist and anti-children AFP minions should be held responsible for all the atrocities by sacrificing the uncounted lives of moro children victims. Justice must be served. Stop the war in Mindanao!” Ms. Suazo added.
 
Honey May Idul-Suazo
Executive Secretary
KABIBA Alliance for Children's Concerns, Inc.