April 6, 2011
United Nations Special Representative for Children in Armed Conflict Radhika Coomaraswamy is now in the Philippines to follow up on UN recommendations to protect children in areas of armed conflict. This is from a statement made by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) on Tuesday.
“Coomaraswamy will be here until April 9 to meet with different sectors and discuss specific plans in promoting the rights of children in conflict areas and preventing the recruitment of minors by armed groups,” the OPAPP said.The UN special representative will eye the government’s monitoring and reporting mechanisms as they relate to serious violations of child rights during armed conflict, the OPAPP said.
In line with UN Security Council Resolution 1612, she will also look at the implementation of a joint action plan between the UN and the MNLF, a plan to prevent and halt the recruitment of children.
Further, she will look into helping to develop a similar action plan with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).
She will also check on the possible involvement of security forces in grave violations of child rights.
Coomaraswamy met last Sunday with OPAPP secretary Teresita Deles and members of government panels involved in negotiations with both the MILF and the NDF.
OPAPP also briefed Coomaraswamy on developments in the peace process. Central to their discussion was the idea of mainstreaming child protection in peace talks.
Also present at the dinner meeting were local and international officials and staff of the United Nations Children’s Fund.
“In the coming days, Coomaraswamy will also sit with different government agencies such as the Department of Social Work and Development, Department of Interior and Local Government and the Philippine National Police, Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of National Defense and the Armed Forces of the Philippines to receive briefings on various child protection efforts by agencies,” the OPAPP said.
She will proceed to Cotabato City this Wednesday to meet with the government’s Coordinating Committee for the Cessation of Hostilities and with the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group.
She will also meet with the MILF to discuss the implementation of the UN-MILF joint-action plan on child protection. — AY/VS, GMA News