De Lima on Int’l Human Rights Day: Address gaps in upholding children’s rights
MANILA, Philippines — Detained Senator Leila de Lima on Tuesday assailed what she called “gaps” in upholding children’s rights, citing a report made by a non-government organization that 74 minors had been killed in the government’s so-called war on drugs.
In a statement issued in celebration of the International Human Rights, celebrated every December 10, de Lima said the youth’s childhood are “cut short” as their lives are affected by the government’s war against drugs.
Citing a report from an international non-government organization, de Lima noted that in the Philippines, 74 children were killed and 32,000 others were orphaned last year under the guise of the Duterte administration’s bloody drug war.
Most of these children, de Lima said, were “pushed into poverty and carrying the stigma of losing a loved one in the extra-judicial killings,” such that some of them drop out of school.
“Instead of seeing them as victimized and exploited, children in conflict with the law are considered undeserving of better opportunities amid moves by Philippine lawmakers to lower the minimum age of criminal liability from 15 to 9,” she said.
“What kind of national consciousness is forming inside them when society has failed to protect their rights?” she added.
This, she said, runs counter the government’s duty to ensure that the children’s rights to security are protected.
De Lima, herself detained on what she called trumped up illegal drug charges, claimed that some Filipino children in conflict with the law are being considered “undeserving of better opportunities,” amid moves to lower the minimum age of criminal liability.
She said that young people should be celebrated because they are the “hope for a just and peaceful society” and they are “making strides” in promoting democracy, equal rights and participation, freedom of expression, and sustainable development.
“Let us address the gaps in our commitment to uphold every child’s right to grow up with security and happiness,” De Lima said.
At the same time, the senator called on the youth to “open their eyes to the truth,” and inform and involved themselves on social issues.
“You are never too young to speak truth to power. Defend the victims of injustice. Stand up for human rights for your sake, and that of the generations to come,” she said.
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