OBL II Burdens Children – NGO report

She also cited the case of Grecil Buya, a nine-year old child who was shot and killed by soldiers in Compostela Valley and of Dan-dan Quillano, 12, who, along with his mother Betty, was allegedly killed, burned and mutilated by alleged elements of the military in Surigao del Sur on April 2, 2007. Macaspac said these children were branded as NPA fighters, too.

Macaspac also related the story of Al Jakirani, 17 who was tortured in March 2007. Macaspac said Jakirani was a pedicab driver who was falsely labeled by authorities as Abu Usman of the Abu Sayyaf. Macaspac said the minor’s genitals were electrocuted.

Abu Sayyaf is a bandit group engaged in kidnapping.

Macaspac also talked about the Basilan youth who were arrested in November 2007 for charges of kidnapping and murder. She said they were mistaken as members of the Abu Sayyaf and have been languishing in jail up to now at Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, Taguig.

Macaspac said, “Worse, these children are paraded in front of the media like criminals and falsely tagged as child warriors.”

The CRC also documented cases where the military forced children to act as guides in their operations. Macaspac also cited the case of women and children being required to guard checkpoints of the Barangay Defense System in Castilla town, Sorsogon.

“These practices put children in direct risk of harm and is precisely what the international humanitarian law avoids by ensuring that civilians are not caught in the crossfire,” said Macaspac.

“In its more than 20 years of experience in serving children-victims, the CRC has reasons to conclude, by virtue of its documented experiences, that the GRP remains as the main violator of children’s rights, whether or not they are in armed conflict situations,” Macaspac said.

The CRC will submit a copy of its report to the United Nations Special Representative to the Secretary General on for Children and Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy. The UN representative is in the country to conduct an investigation on the recruitment and use of so-called child soldiers.(Bulatlat.com)

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