Tag Archives: CLRDC

[Off-the-shelf] Philippines: New report reveals deliberate killings of children during “war on drugs”- by OMCT and CLRDC, Philippines

Philippines: New report reveals deliberate killings of children during “war on drugs”

Geneva (OMCT) – A new report, published today, documents 122 killings of children, from 1 to 17 years old, throughout the Philippines, between July 2016 and December 2019. The report, titled “How could they do this to my child?”, jointly published by the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the Children’s Legal Rights and Development Center (CLRDC, Philippines), shows that the majority of the killings were carried out by police forces or affiliates.

The report is based on information directly collected from the locations where the children were killed, including interviews with local authorities, families and witnesses, and the examination of official documents related to each case. It identifies clear patterns for the killings, including the direct targeting of victims; killings of children as proxies when the real targets could not be found; as a result of mistaken identities; and as so-called “collateral damage”. The report details six cases, with the youngest victim a 20-month old girl.

In one particularly horrific case, a 7-year old boy was killed in cold blood because he had witnessed the murder of an adult by a member of the local authorities. The killings continue, with at least seven children killed from January to March 2020.

“These revelations must be a wake-up call for the international community, who has been largely absent as the Philippine government has kept trampling human rights”, said Gerald Staberock, OMCT Secretary-General. “Over the past four years, we have hardly seen any meaningful reaction to the wanton killing of thousands of people under the pretext of the “war on drugs”, the targeting of the poorest and most marginalized citizens of the Philippines, and the persecution of human rights defenders, many of whom are in prison for their legitimate work. It is the total lack of accountability that feeds the cycle of violence, including the war on children we are witnessing.”

It is estimated that the total number of extrajudicial killings in the framework of the Philippine government’s anti-drug campaign may run as high as 27,000. Only in one case did the policemen involved get convicted.

This impunity, and the fact that most victims are poor and vulnerable, further increase a climate of terror created by the “war on drugs”. Practically all the families and witnesses interviewed for this report have asked to remain anonymous. Many of them did not file a case for the murder of their child, fearing retaliation. With parents often too afraid to testify, even anonymously, it is likely that the actual numbers of children killed are higher than the 122 documented in the report.

As the United Nations Human Rights Council is about to examine the record of the Philippines, the report sets out detailed recommendations, including for the creation of an independent commission of inquiry into human rights violations in the Philippines, with a special focus on children.

Full access to the report.

The World Organization Against Torture (OMCT) is the main global coalition of NGOs fighting torture and ill-treatment, with 200 members in more than 90 countries. Its international secretariat is based in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Children’s Legal Rights and Development Center (CLRDC) is the leading child rights organisation in the Philippines.

Media Contact: Iolanda Jaquemet, ij@omct.org, mobile +41 79 539 41 06

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[Statement] Children’s Rights must be respected at all times even in containing the COVID-19 virus -CLRDC

The Children’s Legal Rights and Development Center (CLRDC), an organization that promotes child protection and restorative justice, recognizes the threat posed by COVID-19 to nations around the world. The magnitude of the public health, economic, and social impacts of the COVID-19 global pandemic led to the Philippine government’s proclamation of a state of a public health emergency.

While we acknowledge and support the efforts of the government to address this escalating crisis, we are also alarmed by the growing number of reports of abuses and violence allegedly committed against children in light of the implementation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine in Luzon. Children as a vulnerable sector, continue to be at risk, not only of this infectious disease but also of abuse, exploitation, and violence amid the global COVID-19 outbreak. For the past few days, CLRDC has received verified and monitored reports of children being arrested and detained for curfew violations, being threatened of physical harm including alleged threats of being shot, shaving of hair and shaming, and torture among others. This includes the detention of minors in a dog cage who violate curfew hours, and alleged placing of minors inside a coffin to deter curfew violations among others.

The said incidents are blatant violations of the Anti- Torture Act, and other child protection policies especially Republic Act No. 10630 known as the Comprehensive Juvenile Justice and Welfare System.

Let our duty bearers be reminded that under Republic Act No. 10630 no penalty shall be imposed upon minors who violate curfew ordinances and they shall be immediately released to the custody of their parents.

“Ordinances enacted by local governments concerning juvenile status offenses such as, but not limited to, curfew violations, truancy, parental disobedience, anti-smoking and anti-drinking laws, as well as light offenses and misdemeanors against public order or safety such as, but not limited to, disorderly conduct, public scandal, harassment, drunkenness, public intoxication, criminal nuisance, vandalism, gambling, mendicancy, littering, public urination, and trespassing, shall be for the protection of children. No penalty shall be imposed on children for said violations, and they shall instead be brought to their residence or to any barangay official at the barangay hall to be released to the custody of their parents.” (Republic Act No. 10630, Section 57-A)

Also, Section 5.2.10 of DILG Memo Circular No. 2020-062, which is the suppletory LGU guidelines on the implementation of Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), prohibits the commission of human rights violations during the implementation of the ECQ.

We thus urge our government to remain faithful to the rule of law and ensure that fundamental rights remain in place despite the mounting pressure brought about by the ongoing health crisis. We urge our law enforcement officers and other persons in authority to respond to this crisis in a manner consistent with existing laws and protocols and to be guided by the principles of human rights especially when dealing with children. CLRDC remains committed to the protection and welfare of the children in this difficult time as we have done so in the past.

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Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos, etc.