MANILA -- The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Sunday condemned the use of child soldiers in armed conflict after a 16-year old boy was killed during an encounter between the New People's Army and the military in Gingoog City earlier this month.
"Nothing can justify this deplorable practice," CHR spokesperson Atty. Jacqueline de Guia said in a statement.
Litboy Talja Binongcasan, a Grade 6 student of Sitio Sioan Elementary School in Barangay Malinao, Gingoog City was identified as slain rebel in the clash last December 2, 2019.
"The utmost welfare and rights of children must be upheld at all times. Putting children in the battlefield imperils and endangers them. Even if they survive armed encounters, the psychological and mental impact can be lifelong," said De Guia.
She reiterated that under the International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, even non-state armed groups must respect the prohibition to recruit and use children in armed conflict and hostilities.
"We remind all armed groups that the use of child soldiers constitutes a war crime," she said.
The CHR official also extended their condolences to the boy's family.
"Litboy was still in his development years and should be focusing on honing his potentials so he can pursue his goals and dreams but his life was snuffed out and can no longer be taken back," she said.