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Child rights advocates demand PNoy to put an end to state violence against children

Children’s Rehabilitation Center (CRC) and other human rights groups expressed their extreme concern over the increasing number of children victims of human rights violations across the country during a press conference held today in Quezon City.

Dubbed as “Stop Killing our Children! Stop the Rape of our Future!”, the press conference was attended by representatives from Salinlahi Alliance for Children’s Concerns, Gabriela, Hustisya and Gabriela Women’s Party.

“As of March this year, we have already documented five (5) cases of Killing, 15 frustrated killing, 2 rape and sexual assault, 10 attacks on schools and 8 branding of children as child soldiers among others. Alleged involvement of state military forces were present in all of these cases”, noted Ms. Jacquiline Ruiz, CRC Executive Director.

One of the cases highlighted was the massacre in Camarines Norte last February 25 where two children, aged 7 and 10, and their father were killed. Their older sibling, 14, sustained gunshot wound after elements of the 49th Infantry Battalion indiscriminately fired at their house. Her mother, Lourdes Mancera, was one of the panelists who shared her testimony on her family’s plight.

Ruiz also shared light on a case that was brought to their attention about a 17-year-old girl (“Cindy”) who was raped by military forces inside the premises of the 16th Infantry Batallion located in Baras, Rizal. Following this incident, Cindy was diagnosed with psychosis and is now under psychiatric observation. A relative was also present to testify her personal knowledge about the incident.

 “The Aquino government’s ongoing Oplan Bayanihan as backdrop of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ operations continue to wreak havoc in rural communities. Sadly, even children’s lives and welfare are not spared from these atrocities!”, commented Ruiz.

Rep. Emmi de Jesus of the Gabriela Women’s Party stated their plan of launching a legislative inquiry regarding the said cases. “As part of the Lower House Committee on the Welfare of Children, we will help in seeking justice for these children and their families”, Rep. de Jesus added.

“As child rights advocates, we will continue holding Pres. Aquino accountable for his grave rights violations to the Filipino children and their families! More and more children will be killed and raped, unless the government put an end to Oplan Bayanihan.” said Melissa San Miguel, Salinlahi spokesperson.

Before the event ended, the group announced their plan to hold a condemnation rally in front of Camp Aguinaldo on March 19 as part of their campaign to end state violence against children.###