Statement of CHR Spokesperson, Atty. Jacqueline de Guia, on the use of child soldiers by NPA in armed conflict

Statement of CHR Spokesperson, Atty. Jacqueline de Guia, on the use of child soldiers by NPA in armed conflict

Last 2 December 2019, authorities identified the killed soldier of the New People’s Army (NPA) during an encounter with the 23rd Infantry Battalion (IB) is a 16-year-old teenage boy from Gingoog City. The NPA minor was Litboy Talja Binongcasan, a Grade Six pupil in Sitio Sioan Elementary School in Brgy. Malinao, Gingoog City.

The Commission strongly denounces the use of child soldiers in armed conflict. Nothing can justify this deplorable practice. Under the International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, even non-state armed groups must respect the prohibition to recruit and use children in armed conflict and hostilities. We remind all armed groups that the use of child soldiers constitutes a war crime.

The utmost welfare and rights of children must be upheld at all times. Putting children in the battlefield imperils and endangers them. Even if they survive armed encounters, the psychological and mental impact can be lifelong. Litboy was still in his development years and should be focusing on honing his potentials so he can pursue his goals and dreams but his life was snuffed out and can no longer be taken back. We send our deepest sympathy to the family of Litboy. CHR shall investigate this case to bring it to its just resolution. ###