PH pushes for promoting and protecting children’s rights at the ASEAN meet and to the UN Special Rapporteur

by Jay Domingo, PDM Staff Writer

Philippine Representative to the AICHR, Aileen S. Mendiola-Rau, presented the Philippines’ position on children’s rights and the right to a healthy environment and climate change held in Bangkok, Thailand. Photo from Asia Pacific Forum via Bangkok PE.

NEW YORK – The Philippines emphasized the empowerment of children to prevent the violation of their rights to a healthy and sustainable environment during the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) Dialogue forum held in Bangkok, Thailand. The Asia Pacific Forum organized the event.

In a presentation during Session 10 about children’s rights and the environment, Philippine Representative to the AICHR and Deputy Assistant Secretary Aileen S. Mendiola-Rau said that ASEAN needs to employ a more encompassing lens in addressing challenges faced by children.

“There has been a growing understanding of the basic human right to a healthy environment, the need to keep the best interest of the child at the center of our joint efforts to achieve a sustainable future, and the vital role that children themselves can play in identifying, advocating for, and implementing solutions,” Mendiola-Rau told participants representing national human rights institutions of Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Timor-Leste and Thailand, CSOs and AICHR Representatives from Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand.

She also pushed for recommendations that will promote and protect children’s rights: strengthening advocacy work; providing access to justice and effective remedies; engaging the legislative and judicial bodies; and ensuring cross-pillar and cross-sectoral efforts.

The Dialogue was organized for the Representatives of AICHR and South-East Asia National Human Rights Institutions (SEANF) to share challenges and best practices on the right to a healthy environment and climate change.

UN Special Rapporteur’s country visit

Meanwhile, the Philippines welcomed the country visit of Mama Fatima Singhateh, the UN Special Rapporteur (SR) on the Sale and Sexual Exploitation of Children, as part of the Government’s open and constructive engagement with the UN and international community on human rights.

Left to Right: Deputy Assistant Secretary Noemi T. Diaz (DFA), Undersecretary Angelo Tapales, Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC), Human Rights Officer Antara Singh (OHCHR), UN Special Rapporteur on the Sale and Sexual Exploitation of Children Mama Fatima Singhateh, Undersecretary Severo Catura, Presidential Human Rights Committee Secretariat (PHRCS) and Commissioner Beda A. Erpes, Commission on Human Rights (CHR). | Photo by CWC

After her visit, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said that Singhateh “acknowledged the policies and best practices of the Philippine Government to combat child trafficking and the exploitation of children, such as the establishment of assistance centers and strong legislative measures.”

The DFA added that Singhateh encouraged the Government to step up efforts to consolidate its system for “detection of crimes, complaint handling…and enhancing capacities of officials and social workers…to provide meaningful support and rehabilitation to victims and survivors.”

A final report of the Special Rapporteur’s visit will be presented and discussed at the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2024.

–With Ricky Rillera/PDM

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