The Philippines: Child-rights treaty long overdue — CHR

The Commission on Human Rights urged the government to ratify the treaty known as the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a Communications Procedure (OP3 CRC) so more Filipino children can access international justice for rights abuses.

“This development marks a milestone in the progress toward  universal child rights protection and we urge the Philippine Government to join the 10 countries that have ratified the protocol to send a message that we owe to our children the broadest protection mechanism available at home and at the international level”, CHR chairman Loretta Ann P. Rosales said.

The new treaty was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2011 but will only become active in three months’ time after Costa Rica ratifies it today. Other countries like Albania, Bolivia, Gabon, Germany, Montenegro, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain and Thailand previously ratified. Under the new treaty, children whose human rights have been violated will finally be able to bring their cases to the United Nations.

Until today, and despite its near universal ratification (all countries have ratified except Somalia, South Sudan and the United States), the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child was the only international human rights treaty that had no mechanism for victims to seek justice internationally when they could not get redress for violations of their rights nationally.

“While the Philippines ratified the UN CRC, children in the country continue to suffer violations of their rights every day through armed conflicts, discrimination, violence in their communities, schools and homes, as well as lack of access to basic services such as education and healthcare, and their views and opinions are systematically ignored. It is about time that abuses of children’s rights can be brought to the UN.  Once the government ratifies this treaty, UN will be better equipped to address future violations of children’s rights here in the country,” Rosales explained.