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11:08, 14 December 2017 Thursday
10:12, 11 October 2017 Wednesday

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UNICEF commends MILF for releasing children
UNICEF commends MILF for releasing children

MILF’s removal from UN list of armed groups recruiting children is a ‘victory toward realizing children’s rights’

World Bulletin / News Desk

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) on Tuesday commended the Philippines’ largest Moro armed group for releasing 1,869 children from its ranks.

UNICEF Representative Lotta Sylwander made the commendation in a statement, saying the removal of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) from a UN list of armed groups recruiting and using children marks a stride and victory toward realizing children's rights in the Philippines.

UNICEF, which is responsible for profiling and identifying children among members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces, said 60 percent of the children on their list are boys while 40 percent are girls.

In the UN Secretary-General’s report on children and armed conflict presented annually to the UN Security Council, six grave violations against children and the situation of children affected by armed conflict in the previous year were presented.

According to Sylwander, the report highlighted trends and patterns of grave violations, progress made to protect children and further recommendations.

She said significantly, the recently released 2016 report revealed that UN engagement has led to the delisting of two parties in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in the Philippines.

UNICEF facilitated the work with the UN-MILF Action Plan to end recruitment and use of children and completed it at the beginning of 2017 upon the fulfillment of a six-point roadmap, resulting in the disengagement of 1,869 children from the ranks of the MILF.

The implementation of the action plan aims to contribute towards the normalization track of the peace process between the government and the MILF.

Peace talks aimed at ending a 40-year Moro insurgency are still difficult, although the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law will pave the way for the creation of a new autonomous political entity that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

In the Philippines, children continue to be direct victims of grave violations in the context of the armed conflict, affecting their right to life, survival, development, protection and education.

The most common violations are the recruitment and use of children, occupation of and attacks on schools, killing and maiming and detention for alleged association with armed groups.

Thousands of children and families have been displaced in recent years by armed conflict, mainly in Mindanao. In 2017, the Marawi City crisis displaced approximately 359,000 individuals, 205,000 of them children.



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