Saturday, December 8, 2007

More than 200,000 Pinoy children victims of HR violations

More than 200,000 Pinoy children victims of HR violations
Thursday, December 06 2007 (www.philstar. com)

More than 200,000 Filipino children were victims of human rights
violations from 2001 to mid-2006, a majority of them caught in the
middle of armed conflicts, according to a report of the Children's
Rehabilitation Center (CRC).

The report was included in the book "Uncounted Lives: Children, Women
and Conflict in the Philippines, " commissioned by the United Nations
Children's Fund (Unicef).

The CRC is a non-government institution serving children and families
who are victims of state violence in the Philippines. It focuses its
services on children in the rural and urban areas who suffer physical
health problems, emotional disorders, and social maladjustments due to
traumatic events like arrest, torture, forced displacement, strafing,
bombing, massacre, disappearance, and other forms of human rights

The CRC has documented 800 incidents of human rights violations
involving 215,233 children as victims from 2001 to July 2006.

These cases include 58 children killed and another 58 who survived
attempts on their lives. Some 40 children were maimed and 17 children
were subjected to different forms of torture and humiliation.

The CRC said 215,060 children were forced to evacuate as a result of
counter-insurgency operations.

The CRC also reported that 10 children have disappeared or become
"desaparecidos. " Five children were victims of sexual harassment and
three were victims of rape by the military, 51 were victims of illegal
search and seizure, 63 were victims of coercion, 69 were victims of
illegal arrest and detention, 40 were victims of physical assault and
injury and 196 were victims of threats and intimidation.

In the period covered, the CRC also said there were 106 orphaned
children who witnessed the killing of their parents or relatives.

Unicef country representative Dr. Nicholas Alipui said that the
continuous persecution of children in war-torn areas makes them "grow
naturally into acquiring knowledge of war, conflict, how to use arms,
how to spy and how to report."

"This whole new phenomena which is really about children in armed
conflict is totally unacceptable to Unicef," Alipui told reporters,
adding that "children should be in school and any child that is
remotely or directly linked within an armed group should be released
and freed to be able to pursue childhood aspirations, go to school and
be peaceful."

Alipui said based on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of
the Child, "one child is more than enough to be involved in any armed

"Apart from the loss of the mother or parent I don't believe that
there is more devastating (experience) for a child than to be caught
in armed conflict. It is actually immaterial how many children we are
talking about because universally every child whether one, 10, 20 or
100, has the same right everywhere," he said.

Alipui said armed conflict adversely affects children's health,
education, protection and social well-being, and called on the
government to protect children from the effects of armed conflict and

"Let us keep the focus on the impact of armed conflict and violence
against children because for as long as that continues, this country
will not be at peace," he said.

Meanwhile, Alipui said they would furnish the government, including
the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police and
the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of
Health, and the Department of Education, copies of the book to give
their side on the results of the study. – Helen Flores

Copyright 2007. Philstar Global Corp. All rights reserved. This
article cannot be published or redistributed without the permission of
the publisher.