THE Philippines underscored its commitment to protect the rights of children in conflict situations during the recent Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict.
Philippine Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York Minister Ariel R. Peñaranda, in a statement said “the Philippine Government seriously takes its role as protector of children. The Constitution requires it to do so. But more than the demands of law, Philippine society has accorded children a hallowed place, as treasured assets whose survival must be ensured and whose fullest potential must be fulfilled.”
Peñaranda underscored the Philippines’ moral and legal commitment to ensure that children affected by armed conflict are afforded special protection and entitled to special respect while highlighting the enactment of Republic Act 11188 or the “Special Protection of Children Armed Conflict Act” in January this year.
He noted the law reaffirmed children cannot be allowed to participate in armed conflict and must be protected from maiming, torture, abduction, rape or killing.
The Minister emphasized that “the government denounces the use by rebel groups of schools to foster their ideology of war and make soldiers out of children and renews its solemn responsibility to protect the most vulnerable, the children, against these malignant forces by any means efficient to achieve the defining purpose for the existence and expense of a state.”
Peñaranda added the Philippines will continue to work with Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict Virginia Gamba, and other stakeholders “in pursuing the common aspiration that no child will ever have to experience the horrors of war again.”
The Philippines is aligned with the ASEAN statement which expressed support for the continued constructive engagement by the United Nations with Member States and the use of accurate, objective, reliable and verifiable information in reporting to ensure the integrity and credibility of the work of the Special Representative.
Poland assumed the Presidency of the Security Council for the month of August 2019, which coincidentally marks the 10th anniversary of Security Council resolution 1882, the resolution that calls for the inclusion of killing and maiming of children and/or rape and other sexual violence against children in the reports of the Secretary General.
The Open Debate was presided by Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz, and Special Representative Gamba briefed the Security Council on the Secretary-General’s Report.