PH Convenes Panel to Support UN Human Right Mechanisms on Common Effort to Advance Children’s Protection

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Department of Justice’s Atty. Maria Theresa Sindico-Guillaume delivers the opening remarks at the Forum organized by the Philippines on the importance of children’s rights on 28 June 2019 at the Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland. (Geneva PM photo)

GENEVA 09 July 2019 — The Philippines, a strong advocate of children’s rights and anti-human trafficking, organized a panel discussion on Access to remedy for children victims and survivors of trafficking on 28 June 2019 at the Palais des Nations.

“The Philippines is privileged to organize this important and timely discussion in line with this year’s 30th year of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Specifically, we hope that this would contribute to raising further awareness and stimulating substantive exchange of views and sharing of experiences on the issue of access to remedy for children victims of trafficking. This initiative is undertaken in support of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, as well as the important mandates of the Special Rapporteur on trafficking and the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children,” said Department of Justice’s Atty. Maria Theresa Sindico-Guillaume.

Social Welfare and Development Undersecretary for Special Concerns Camilo Gudmalin  highlighted the country’s programs for trafficked victims. The Philippines has sea, air- and land-based anti-trafficking task forces that have the mandate to arrest human traffickers and rescue victims. It likewise has intensified its campaign against trafficking through basic awareness seminars and distribution of information materials and videos, and through promotion among youth, women, academe, transport groups and business communities.

Following the milestones in the Philippines’s anti-human trafficking efforts, the United States Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report in June 2016 recognized the Philippines’ efforts to combat trafficking with a Tier-1 ranking, the highest compliance level a government can achieve for its anti-trafficking measures. This ranking is maintained up to present, remarked Undersecretary Gudmalin.

In the Human Rights Council as well as in other multilateral and international fora, the Philippines has strong advocacies, among others, on the issues of anti-human trafficking; the rights of women and children and their protection from violence; migration governance and the rights of migrants.

The forum’s panel featured UN Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons Maria Grazia Giammarinaro especially women and children, Expert from the Committee on the Rights of the Child Mikiko Otani, Caritas Lebanon Awareness Project Officer Noha Roukoz, UN’s Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia Refugee and Migrant Response in Europe Special Coordinator and Regional Director Afshan Khan, and End Child Prostitution and Trafficking (ECPAT) International Senior Advisor Catherine Mbengue.

The well-attended interactive discussion centered on existing challenges hampering access to remedy for children victims of trafficking, particularly in the context of migration, and on good practices on access to justice for children victims of trafficking. The forum was participated in by delegations, child rights advocates, non-governmental organisations, and stakeholders.

Co-sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Australia, Austria, Brazil, Croatia, Hungary, Peru, Germany, as well as of Caritas International, Child Rights Connect, ECPAT, and UNICEF, the forum demonstrated the strong expressions of cooperation and solidarity of these countries or institutions on this important theme.

The forum was held on the sidelines of the 41st UN Human Rights Council, which started on 24 June and will conclude on 12 July 2019.

The UN  Human Rights Council holds regular sessions in Geneva three times a year, in March, June, and September, to discuss human rights issues. END

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Social Welfare and Development Undersecretary for Special Concerns Camilo Gudmalin  shares the Philippine experience and best practices on protecting human rights for children and on anti-human trafficking during the forum. (Geneva PM photo)

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