The recent signing of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Law to protect Children in Situations of Armed Conflict is a positive step for children in the Philippines who will benefit from strengthened mechanisms to end and prevent grave violations, commended the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC) and acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children (VAC), Ms. Virginia Gamba.
The Law contains important provisions to improve the protection of children, including the rights of children to be treated as victims in line with international principles, the importance to protect schools and hospitals from attacks, the inclusion of gender-specific provisions on access for girls to education and the expansion of the definition of zones of peace.
“The adoption of the Children in Situations of Armed Conflict Law is a milestone in closing a protection gap for boys and girls in the Philippines and I welcome the recent implementing steps and commend the commitment of the Government of the Philippines to further protect children. It is crucial that boys and girls receive enhanced protection from grave violations and that all children in the Philippines can feel safe and protected at all times,” said the Special Representative.
She congratulated the United Nations in the Philippines for its work, especially UNICEF Philippines which provided crucial support to the authorities in the development of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR).
The 2017 Marawi crisis was an illustration of boys’ and girls’ increased vulnerabilities when armed conflict breaks out. Although the crisis ended in October 2017, military operations continued, resulting in the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people, of which approximately half are children.
The Special Representative encouraged the authorities to pursue their engagement for the protection of boys and girls, already enshrined in the ratification of international instruments such as the Convention of the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict (OPAC), and the Vancouver Principles, and further encouraged the adoption of the Safe Schools Declaration. She added that the United Nations remains ready to support the authorities in their efforts to increase the protection of conflict affected boys and girls in the Philippines.
Notes to editors
The Children in Situations of Armed Conflict (CSAC) Law, Republic Act 11188, was enacted into national law on 10 January 2019. The government’s Inter-Agency Committee on CSAC, chaired by the Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC), was then tasked to develop the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) within 90 days, with UNICEF support.
Parties to conflict in the Philippines listed in the 2017 Secretary-General Report on Children and Armed Conflict
List A – parties that have not put in place measures during the reporting period to improve the protection of children
- Abu Sayyaf Group (Recruitment and use of children)
- Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (Recruitment and use of children)
- New People’s Army (Recruitment and use of children)
For more information, please contact:
Fabienne Vinet, Communications Officer, Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, +1-917-288-5791