December 5, 2012 Manila, Philippines — Instead of asking for new toys and clothes for Christmas, children trooped to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Mendiola to whistle justice for fellow children and families of human rights violations.
Accompanied by parents and child rights advocates, their message to DOJ Sec. Leila de Lima and Pres. Benigno Aquino are clear and simple: Children have the right to live without hunger, fear and military intervention.
Advocacy group Children’s Rehabilitation Center has documented alarming number of cases where children are victims in Pres. Aquino’s two years of Oplan Bayanihan anti-insurgency military policy: 14 cases of extra-judicial killings, 18 frustrated killings, 15 illegal arrests and detention, 13 cases of torture and 4 rape and sexual assault. Most of the cases occur in provinces and areas of military presence.
Campaign group Salinlahi Alliance for Children’s Concerns also raise the issue of current attacks in schools where militaries and agents conduct anti-insurgency forum through DepED memorandum.
Such memo of government agency, Department of Education Culture and Sports, transforms schools into barracks: another site for traumatic experience besides the communities where the children and their families live.
Salinlahi Children’s Collective expressed their protest against human rights violations through dance interpretation of the song Supling inspired by the fighting spirit of Lourdes Mancera, a mother and survivor of Mancera Massacre in Camarines Norte who lost two children and her husband as the .
Lumad, farmers and church workers who are currently on a ten-day Manilakbayan (Mindanao People’s Mobilization for the Defense of Land, Environment and Human Rights) also joined the activity to seek the same cause for justice in military atrocities versus indigenous peoples and land rights supporters.
As the world commemorates Human Rights Day on December 10, children have one wish: A secured place fit for children.#
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