Our children deserve to live in a just, safe, and secure Philippines
The Civil Society Coalition on the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC Coalition) and Child Rights Coalition Asia (CRC Asia) strongly condemn the killings of children in the country’s “war on drugs.”
The anti-illegal drug operations have already claimed the lives of 40 children. Children were assaulted, threatened, arrested and brutally killed. This has also left around 18,000 children orphaned, a conservative estimate of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Some of these orphaned children have witnessed the killing of their loved ones in their homes and communities.
CRC Coalition and CRC Asia recognize the seriousness of the proliferation of prohibited drugs in the country but we do not agree with the killings, especially of children. The Government has a responsibility “to protect children from the illicit use of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances as defined in the relevant international treaties, and to prevent the use of children in the illicit production and trafficking of such substance” (Article 33, UN Convention on the Rights of the Child). Furthermore, Section 2 of Republic Act 7610 (Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act), stipulates that “[I]t shall be the policy of the State to protect and rehabilitate children gravely threatened or endangered by circumstances which affect or will affect their survival and normal development and over which they have no control.”
We call for a humane, comprehensive and sustainable response to the prohibited drug problem, as well as long-term support to the orphaned children. We support the vision of a safe society for the future generation because our children deserve to live in a just, safe and secure environment.
We urge the Philippine National Police to take extraordinary care in dealing with children suspected to be involved in the use and trade of prohibited drugs; to identify and apprehend the persons exploiting them; and to protect the children and ensure their safety and security. The pursuit for peace and order should never be at the expense of human rights and the rule of law.
We call on the members of society to speak up and stand for its children. Violence, animosity, and indifference do not foster an inclusive present and a promising future for our children.
Lastly, we urge the Government to observe the rule of law and due process in its campaign against prohibited drugs; and hold perpetrators accountable. Let us give justice to the unfortunate children who have lost their lives in the government’s “war on drugs.” State agents must ensure that the anti-prohibited drug operations are conducted in a manner that would eliminate collateral or unintended victims, especially children.
Civil Society Coalition on the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC Coalition) is an alliance of 16 local and international organizations that monitor the implementation of UN CRC in the Philippines. This statement is endorsed by ChildFund Philippines, ChildHope Asia Philippines, Consuelo Foundation, ECPAT Philippines, ERDA Foundation, Fundacion Educacion Y Cooperacion, Good Neighbors International Philippines, John J. Carroll Institute on Church and Social Issues, Kindernothilfe Ev. Philippines, Philippines Against Child Trafficking, Plan Philippines, Salinlahi Alliance for Children’s Concerns, Save the Children, Unang Hakbang Foundation, VIDES Philippines Volunteers Foundation Inc., and World Vision Development Foundation, Inc.
Child Rights Coalition Asia (CRC Asia) is a regional network of child rights and human rights organizations working together to be a strong voice for child rights in Asia. Its members include the NGO Coalition on the Rights of the Child (Cambodia), Hong Kong Committee on Children’s Rights, Sahabat Perempuandan Anak Indonesia, Yayasan KKSP – Center for Child Rights Education and Information (Indonesia), Yayasan SEJIWA (Indonesia), Village Focus International (Lao PDR), Protect and Save the Children (Malaysia), Equality Myanmar, Group Development Pakistan, Mindanao Action Group for Children’s Rights and Protection (Philippines), Child Welfare League Foundation (Taiwan), The Life Skills Development Foundation (Thailand), and Vietnam Association for the Protection of Children’s Rights.