UN Mission urged to investigate cases of abduction and arrests of children and minors by GRP

NDFP Monitoring Committee 

Fidel V. Agcaoili, Chairman of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines Monitoring Committee (NDFP-MC) in the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) under the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), has proposed to a United Nations mission from New York to investigate cases of children and minors who have been abducted or illegally arrested and detained, held hostage or interrogated by the AFP in order to get them to inform on their suspected NPA parents or force their parents to surrender.

NDFP Monitoring Committee

Fidel V. Agcaoili, Chairman of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines Monitoring Committee (NDFP-MC) in the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) under the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), has proposed to a United Nations mission from New York to investigate cases of children and minors who have been abducted or illegally arrested and detained, held hostage or interrogated by the AFP in order to get them to inform on their suspected NPA parents or force their parents to surrender.

Agcaoili, in a letter dated 29 November 2007 to Mr. Alex Wargo of the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Children Affected by Armed Conflict (SRSG-CAAC) and Mr. Stephane Pichette of the UNICEF Office in New York for Emergency Operations, asked the UN mission to investigate the specific cases of Edfu de la Cruz (12 years old at the time of arrest) and Levi Mabanan (9 years old at the time of arrest) who were both arrested by the military in 2000 and detained at the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), three unnamed children (for security reasons) aged 4, 8 and 10 who were arrested in 2004 in Kalinga, Lynlyn Labitag (12 years old) who was illegally arrested in 2006, and “Nena” (8 years old) who was illegally arrested in October 2007.

In the case of “Nena”, the military even forced her guardians to give up her custody as an alleged “abandoned” child and turned her over to military agent Myrna Romero for “safekeeping”. Lynlyn Labitag was illegally arrested by the military and detained at the DSWD to force her father, a suspected NPA member, to surrender.

Agcaoili urged the UN mission to investigate these incidents “as another category in the violations of children’s rights (by the Government of the Republic of the Philippines – GRP) in the armed conflict situation in the Philippines”.

The UN mission’s visit, according to Agcaoili, “is timely in view of the all-out war policy being conducted by the GRP under Operational Plan (Oplan) Bantay Laya I and II” which has “led to indiscriminate killings, illegal arrest and detention, torture and abuse of children and minors and their subsequent suffering and death due to malnutrition and disease in so-called evacuation centers as a result of wanton GRP military and police operations in the countryside”.

Agcaoili asked that the UN mission “take into account the full dimensions of the violations of children’s rights committed by the GRP and its military and police in the pursuit of their so-called counter-insurgency programs against the revolutionary movement and people”.

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