Statement of the Commission on Human Rights denouncing the recent cases of violence committed against children

Statement of the Commission on Human Rights denouncing the recent cases of violence committed against children

⚠️Trigger warning: Killings, rape, assault⚠️

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) expresses grave concern over the cases of violence committed against a 3-year-old child from Sultan Kudarat and a Grade 5 student in Antipolo, Rizal who had been reportedly slapped by his teacher. In pursuance of our Constitutional mandate, CHR is already conducting an independent motu proprio investigation into these incidents.

On 26 September 2023, a 3-year-old girl was allegedly killed and raped by their 72-year-old neighbor who, armed with a bolo, easily infiltrated the child’s doorless home. The suspect, who was previously convicted of murder, reportedly attempted to assault the child’s mother who managed to escape but was unable to bring her four children with her.[1] According to the 8-year-old sibling of the victim, after her mother’s escape, the suspect smashed the 3-year-old’s head with a rock and took her away. The body of the 3-year-old girl was eventually found lifeless meters away from their home. Medico-legal reports also claim that she was raped.

Just a few days after the first incident, a 14-year-old Grade 5 student also succumbed to death on 2 October 2023 after allegedly suffering from injuries inflicted by his Filipino teacher, who reportedly slapped him in class for being disruptive.[2] Authorities are currently looking into filing a homicide case against the teacher involved, alongside conducting medico-legal and autopsy reports to further substantiate the details of the incident.[3]

The Commission deplores all acts which pose threats to safeguarding the rights and dignity of children. We underscore the importance of recognizing the individuality and rights of children whose physical and mental vulnerabilities should not relegate them from receiving equal and proper treatment from adults who are supposedly responsible for their welfare and protection.

In line with the principles outlined in the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of the Child, children have the right to be safe from all forms of violence and punishment, regardless of their actions. As such, any form of corporal punishment is deemed unjustified and unacceptable. Republic Act No. 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation, and Discrimination Act also highlights the role of the State in ensuring that those who commit any of the aforementioned acts are appropriately sanctioned to foster an environment that puts a primacy on the protection and advancement of children’s rights.

CHR extends its condolences to the families of the two children victims. We hope that our independent investigation will aid in seeking justice and accountability from the perpetrators.

The Commission acknowledges the ongoing efforts of local law enforcement units in carrying out their duties which are essential for upholding justice and promoting the welfare of children. CHR looks forward to the immediate resolution of these incidents consistent with relevant laws that protect the rights of children. We also amplify the families’ call for justice by urging concerned government agencies to extend their support and assistance.

Further, we enjoin the government to establish and strengthen legislative, administrative and social measures that will secure children’s safety wherever they may be in line with the State’s obligation to ensure the protection of children as one of the vulnerable sectors.

[1] 3-anyos na babae, pinatay at ginahasa ng kapitbahay na kalalaya lang sa kulungan | 02 October 2023

[2] Gr. 5 student slapped by teacher dies in Antipolo City | 02 October 2023

[3] Homicide case eyed vs. teacher accused of slapping Grade 5 student who later died | 03 October 2023