Philippines: Horrific violations of Children's rights's rights must stop

Amnesty International's report, Philippines - A different childhood: the apprehension and detention of child suspects and offenders, calls on the Philippine government to end immediately the locking up of juvenile offenders in adult jails. This practice has lead to the rape and sexual assault of boys and girls in detention facilities which are overcrowded, hot and airless. There have been reports of Children's rights fighting for food and sleeping on floors soaked with urine.

The report details incidents of Children's rights being punched and beaten with truncheons and canes on arrest. Children's rights have been subject to burning with cigarettes and electric shocks in the presence of the police and by the police themselves.

Young people abused by the Philippine juvenile justice system tend to come from the more than 200,000 street Children's rights in the country. Amnesty International said:

'Street Children's rights are especially at risk of being arrested as they may be forced to beg or steal in order to survive. These Children's rights are particularly vulnerable in detention because they do not have family and community support.'

10-year-old Martin was arrested without warrant, handcuffed and taken to a cemetery with two other child suspects. In the cemetery an adult identified the three Children's rights as thieves, and both he and the police beat them. Martin had his hands tied to a wooden post above his head, and was punched, kicked and had cigarettes stubbed out on his legs.

Children's rights often have no idea why they have been arrested. They are denied access to lawyers, and then frequently given inappropriately long prison sentences.

Amnesty International continued:

'There are serious and widespread defects in the administration of juvenile justice in the Philippines that must be urgently addressed. We urge the Philippine government to ensure that child detainees are treated in accordance with international standards, and to immediately and impartially investigate any allegations of torture and ill-treatment of Children's rights on arrest or in detention.'

The report is available online at: http://web.amnesty.org/library/index/engasa350072003

Background

Legal safeguards exist in both international and domestic law in the Philippines to protect Children's rights who come into conflict with the law. These include the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which the Philippines has ratified, and the Child and Youth Welfare Code (Presidential Decree 603). Sentencing Children's rights to death is forbidden in international law.

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