UNICEF urges Philippines to attend to Filipino children trapped in armed conflicts


Posted at Feb 12 2020 07:33 PM

18-year old Adil (not his real name) was disengaged from the military wing of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) two years ago. “I want to be a social worker, to help out of school youth,” he says. Handout photo

MANILA - Thirty years since the world adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child, children, including those in the Philippines, remain trapped in armed conflicts, a situation that governments should promptly address, a United Nations official said Wednesday.

"Children pay a deadly price during conflicts," Oyun Dendevnorov, the Philippines representative of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said in a statement during the commemoration of the International Day Against the Use of Child Soldiers.

"Thirty years after the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, many children still get caught in the crossfire, their schools and homes attacked. We must remember that children are zones of peace and we must do all we can to protect them,” he said.

In the 2018 report of the UN Secretary-General on children and armed conflict in the Philippines, 69 grave violations affecting 109 children were recorded.

Of this number, 26 violations took place in 2017. One example is the recruitment of 19 children who were used as soldiers.

Killing and maiming children, sexual violence, abduction, attacks against schools or hospitals, and denial of humanitarian access for children are among those considered as Grave Child Rights Violations (GCRVs).

“We urge the Government of the Philippines to ensure the effective implementation of the law so that children in situations of armed conflict realize the full spectrum of their rights,” Dendevnorov, citing Republic Act 11188, or the Special Protection of Children in Situations of Armed Conflict Act, signed in 2019.

The Embassy of Belgium in the Philippines and various civil society groups joined the UNICEF in Wednesday's event.