CHR: Use of child soldiers constitutes war crime
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights on Sunday condemned the use of child soldiers in armed conflict following the death of a 16-year-old boy who was allegedly a soldier of the New People’s Army (NPA), the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said Sunday.
CHR Spokesperson Atty. Jacqueline de Guia reminded armed groups that the use of child soldiers constitutes a war crime.
“Nothing can justify this deplorable practice,” De Guia said in a statement.
Authorities earlier identified the slain NPA soldier as Litboy Talja Binongcasan, a sixth grade student in Barangay Malinao, Gingoog City.
CHR said Binongcasan died in an encounter between the NPA and the 23rd Infantry Battalion (IB) last December 2.
Citing the International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, De Guia said “even non-state armed groups must respect the prohibition to recruit and use children in armed conflict and hostilities.”
“Litboy was still in his development years and should be focusing on honing his potentials so he can pursue his goals and dreams but his life was snuffed out and can no longer be taken back,” De Guia said.
Further, De Guia said that children’s rights must upheld at all times and putting children in the battlefield “imperils and endangers them.”
“Even if they survive armed encounters, the psychological and mental impact can be lifelong,” the commission’s spokesperson said.
CHR said they will investigate the case as they extended condolences to Binangcosan’s family.
Edited by JE
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