THE Armed Forces of the Philippines has renewed its commitment to protect children during armed conflicts as well as prevent and respond to child rights violations.
AFP Chief of Staff Cirilito Sobejana affirmed this commitment together with the UN Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting (UN-CTFMR) and Unicef during the launching of an action plan to prevent and respond to grave child rights violations.
Sobejana, UN-CTFMR co-chair Gustavo Gonzales, and Unicef Representative to the Philippines Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov signed the document in a ceremony held Wednesday, June 9, 2021.
The plan contains undertakings, commitments, benchmarks and activities that the AFP must perform to fully comply with its obligations under the international human rights law and international humanitarian law.
He said the AFP also committed to enhancing accountability for grave violations against children and other prohibited acts contained in the UN Security Resolution 1612 and Republic Act 11188.
“As the AFP’s broad commitments are clearly outlined in this strategic plan, we shall ensure that professionalism, discipline and respect is nurtured and sustained in the conduct of our daily operations,” Sobejana said.
“We shall guarantee that all our personnel are properly educated and trained, to raise their awareness, and for a deeper sense of respect and regard to the promotion and protection of human rights in particular, to children’s rights, and adherence to international humanitarian law,” he added.
The UN, for its part, will conduct regular consultations with the AFP through its AFP Center for Law of Armed Conflict.
A technical working group will monitor the performance of the AFP and recommend strategies to fully implement all aspects and resolve concerns that may arise during the implementation phase.
“Grave child rights violations do not only infringe domestic, international and humanitarian law. They are a violation of our common humanity. They can cause lasting damage to the children themselves, and to the communities and societies to which they belong. They risk feeding the very same grievances and frustrations that lead to extremism, creating a vicious cycle of tension and violence,” Dendevnorov said. (Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo / SunStar Philippines)