22 June 2020

General Comments

on draft resolution L.32 Mandate of the Special Rapporteur on sale and sexual exploitation of children, including child prostitution, child pornography and other child sexual abuse material

Thank you, Madam President.

The Philippines welcomes this resolution and recognizes the efforts of the main sponsors. The extension of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on sale of children is very timely and relevant especially given the global prevalence of the issue and the new forms and trends in the online exploitation of children.

We note that the Special Rapporteur has called attention to the heightened vulnerabilities of children to sale and sexual exploitation given the socio-economic impact of the pandemic in many parts of the world and has also alerted about new forms and platforms of child sexual exploitation and abuse during lockdown measures. UNICEF has also called the attention of the international community on the heightened risks of children to online harm during the pandemic.

The pandemic has sharply brought to the fore how digital technology has, on the negative side, been misused to enable the exploitation of children. We hope that the forthcoming General Comment of the Committee on the Rights of the Child on the digital environment will help provide the needed guidance in this regard.

The Philippines believes that national and regional efforts to protect children could benefit from the technical advisory work of the Special Rapporteur as well as the Treaty Body. In this regard, The Philippines has been annually hosting a multi-sectoral Dialogue between the regional intergovernmental body ASEAN and the CRC with a view to facilitating better understanding of the General Comments and the implementation of state obligations. We have planned this year a Dialogue to feature a session on online sexual exploitation and the new CRC General Comment on rights in the digital environment, inviting Treaty Body experts and the Special Rapporteur. The holding of this event will be subject to developments in the pandemic situation.

We join calls for States, the OHCHR, and the HRC to fully support the mandate to optimize its technical advisory function.

Thank you, Madam President. END.