Spin on UN report on children in armed conflict is “false, biased and unfair”

By NDFP Human Rights Committee

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Human Rights Committee (HRC) chairman, Fidel V. Agcaoili, lambasted today as false the news story that appeared on a national broadsheet alleging the New People’s Army (NPA) to be among the “top abusers of children in war”.

“Taking bits and pieces from a UN press release dated 21 May 2010 issued in connection with the annual report to the Security Council by the Secretary General, the reporter slants his story to make the false allegation that the NPA is among the “armed groups that subjected minors to the most brutal violence, such as killings, maimings, rapes and other sexual assaults”, Agcaoili stated. 

“The UN press release as well as the UN report itself is very clear on which armed groups allegedly committed the killings, maimings, rapes and sexual assaults of children.  The list does not include the NPA.  Such style of news reporting grossly violates the basic tenet of truth in journalism and is only intended to slander the NPA.  It also reveals the personal bias and malice of the reporter”, Agcaoili observed.

“Moreover, the UN press release itself admits that the accusations against the NPA on the alleged use of child soldiers ‘could not be verified’ in view of the refusal of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) to allow the UN investigating team access to several areas or to engage with the NPA or the NDFP”, Agcaoili noted.

“In fact, reading through the UN report, it would be more accurate to say that the GRP through its fascist thugs in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is the biggest violator of children’s rights in the situation of armed conflict in the Philippines.  The actual cases of violence against children cited in the UN report pointed to the AFP as the culprits.  In the section on recommendations, the UN secretary general even expresses concern on the use of children for military intelligence and the interrogation of children by the AFP in its military operations”, Agcaoili added.

“Yet the reporter conveniently disregarded and downplayed these facts and proceeded instead to spin a tall and malicious tale against the NPA”, Agcaoili said.

Agcaoili reiterated that the NPA strictly abides by the policy of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) against the recruitment as combatants of children below 18 years of age.  It also subscribes to the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) on the protection of children from physical and mental abuse.

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