The Commission on Human Rights-Region 10 (CHR-10) has released a report confirming that New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Misamis Oriental province have committed Grave Child Rights Violations (GCRV) after they were found to have recruited minors from the towns of Claveria and Lagonglong. This following the surrender of the minors to the Army’s 58th Infantry Battalion (58IB).
As shared by the Philippine Army’s 4th Infrantry Division, the findings by the CHR stemmed from the report made by the civic organization, Sulong Peace wherein it stated that:
“As they were recruited and used by the armed group in the context of armed conflict, the nine children are victims of grave child rights violations. Regardless of their recruitment, whether voluntary or forced, they were recruited and used to take part in the hostilities by the NPA, an armed group that is clearly a violation of the law, both domestic and international”
First to surrender to the 58th IB on November 6, 2020 was 16-year-old girl “May” from Lagonglong town who voluntarily surrendered to 58IB after failed promises by the armed group to May, as well as starvation and loneliness. Prior to recruitment, she was studying in a public school at Lagonglong, but she was unable to finish her studies due to the deception and manipulation of the Communist Terrorist Groups (CTGs), who promised her a better future for her family if she joined their armed struggle.
Meanwhile, just 2 days after the surrender of “May”, twelve (12) more NPA rebels surrendered, eight of whom were still minors at the time of recruitment, sometime in 2016. Hardship and hunger were the main reasons for this group’s surrender.
The CHR-10 resolution also stated:
“The legal basis for grave child rights violations lies in relevant international laws such as international humanitarian law, international human rights law, and international criminal law. The recruitment or use of children is the first identified GCRV. The recruitment and use of children in armed conflict have been incorporated into our domestic laws and, likewise, we consider these acts to be grave child rights violations. In this case, the alleged crime committed by the armed group, the NPA, was the recruitment and use of children. Recruitment refers to the compulsory, forced, or voluntary conscription or enlistment of children into the governmental armed force or forced or voluntary membership into the armed group.”
“The nine victims herein were considered children involved in armed conflict (CIAC) as they were recruited when they were still below 18 years old and therefore considered children. As they were recruited and used by the armed group in the context of armed conflict, the nine children are victims of grave child rights violations (GCRVs). Regardless of their recruitment, whether voluntary or forced, they were recruited and used to take part in the hostilities by the NPA, an armed group that is clearly a violation of the law, both domestic and international.”
Read more details in the links below.