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Overcoming Barriers, Building Bridges: Making Justice and Services Accessible to Children Victims of Armed Conflict Through Effective and Reliable Monitoring and Reporting of Child’s Rights Violations

                     

 EUROPEAN UNION 

The project “Overcoming Barriers, Building Bridges:  Making Justice And Services Accessible To Children Victims Of Armed Conflict Through Effective And Reliable Monitoring And Reporting Of Child Rights Violations”, funded by the European Union for three years starting January 2010.  The main areas that the project covers are:

Luzon: Northern Luzon, Southern Tagalog, Bicol

· Visayas: Western Visayas, Eastern Visayas

· Mindanao: North-eastern Mindanao, Southern Mindanao and the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) 

CRC-EU Project's Logo

The project generally aims to contribute to the establishment of effective measures to protect children in armed conflict and thus also contribute to end impunity.  As a specific objective it aims for an improved promotion and protection of the rights of Filipino children-victims of armed conflict in select areas of the Philippines.  

The project asserts that these objectives can be met primarily through the enhancement of the monitoring and reporting capacities of Children’s Rehabilitation Center in the National Office, Regional Offices and outreach programs and through strengthening the capacities to respond to the needs of children in armed conflict, especially in the psycho-social aspect.  This not only entails the re-establishment of data-bank facilities in the regional offices and outreach programs and the capacity-building on the use and maintenance of the data-bank but more importantly, it requires actual accession to the victims through jail visits, fact-finding missions and community visits as part of its primary data-gathering techniques.

The project will involve women and human rights organizations at the community level in documenting child rights violations in the context of armed conflict and in awareness-raising on human rights and child rights.  It will also involve local Barangay units through the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children (BCPC), which by law should exist in every Barangay.  Local BCPCs will come up with Child Protection Protocols which they would adopt and implement especially in times of armed conflict.  

More importantly, however, the project will involve the children themselves in campaigns and advocacy for their own cause.  They will be the main actors in activities such as dialogues with Congress and/or Senate, the Commission on Human Rights, the media and other individuals and institutions.  They will also be involved in the lobbying of particular resolutions or laws (particularly for the amendment of RA 7610) that would further ensure promotion and protection of the rights of children affected by armed conflict. 

The end result will be regular comprehensive reports on child rights violations which will be submitted to the Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting convened by the UN.  At the end of each year a report containing the data, case studies and activities of the project can be published while at the end of the project, the collated data as well as case studies can serve as a shadow report on the Philippine government’s implementation of the CRC in relation to children in armed conflict.

Ultimately, the development of a comprehensive, reliable and relevant documentation and data-banking system coupled with the enhanced capacity of the staff, community child care workers and volunteers will lead to the effective and efficient provision of specific services to children in armed conflict communities in general and particular children allegedly associated with armed groups.  

It will mainly involve the CRC National Office; Regional Offices –  CRC-Southern Mindanao, CRC-Bicol and CRC-Panay, and Outreach Programs – CRC-Negros and CRC-Ilocos as main implementors.

 The main partner of Children’s Rehabilitation Center for this project is the

 

 ASSOCIATION FOR THE RIGHTS OF CHILDREN IN SOUTHEAST ASIA (ARCSEA) – an association of individual child rights advocates that has developed resources on various children’s issues and has supported projects highlighting children’s rights, particularly the right to participate.  They will be providing the support for the databank and will be part of the workshops and data-gathering missions.

 

 

The Associate partners are: 

GABRIELA – as an alliance of women’s organizations coming from the different sectors of the society and spread nationwide, GABRIELA upholds the rights and welfare of children because it believes that while children’s concerns are a social responsibility, women should also be involved and empowered in implementing programs for children because it is a necessary step in unburdening women as individuals with the responsibility for their own children.  

KARAPATAN – it has an existing extensive documentation and comprehensive data-bank system on general human rights violations, aside from its concrete legal and para-legal services to victims.  Its presence in almost all regions and provinces through its provincial offices and networks can also facilitate the objective of reaching out to more children victims, 

 

SALINLAHI – it has an extensive background in campaign work not only to highlight rights violations against children but can also relate the campaign on children’s issues to broader national issues.  It has also experience in lobby work and has been part of the Technical Working Group created by the House of Representative to draft and discuss the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act.  

Other stakeholders include the families of the victims and the communities in which they belong, including the local organizations and government structures.  Since the project seeks to help the children overcome their trauma and facilitate their reunification with their parents and communities, the above-mentioned stakeholders are expected to cooperate on and even appreciate the project.