Friday, December 5, 2014

MILF assures it will stop using child soldiers


From the Website of MILF
links: http://www.luwaran.com/index.php/welcome/item/1387-milf-assures-it-will-stop-using-child-soldiers

MILF assures it will stop using child soldiers


SULTAN KUDARAT, Maguindanao — The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on Tuesday vowed to exert all efforts to prevent the recruitment of child soldiers and remove the group from the UN list of armed groups using children as combatants.
The assurance came during an orientation on the UN-MILF Action Plan on the recruitment and use of children attended by UNICEF officials and MILF commanders, in Camp Darapanan here.

MILF first vice chairman Ghadzali Jaafar said they wanted to set an example to other armed groups like the New People’s Army, Abu Sayyaf and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in respecting internationally recognized children’s rights.

“We approved this code of conduct as our sincere effort to show our concern for children’s future, but it was never the policy of the MILF to use children,” Jaafar said.

“MILF is the only non-state armed group in the whole world attempting to be delisted from the list of armed groups that engage children in armed conflict and this is something very, very unique”, according to UNICEF country representative Lotta Sylwander.

She said the move would have global significance now that the group has set its eyes on developing the Bangsamoro together with the state.

In a visit last week to Camp Rajah Muda in Pikit, North Cotabato where the same orientation was held, one MILF fighter admitted it was difficult to refuse children who wanted to follow the footsteps of family members who have joined the group.

“But now, realizing the improvements of the peace talks and the recent developments with the sincerity of the present government, we rather wanted to see young fighters in schools,” the source who refused to be identified said.

Aside from MILF, military commanders and troops also underwent a series of orientation sessions on the action plan to ensure adherence to international law.
Globally, at least 740,000 people die directly or indirectly as a result of armed violence every year. One third of these deaths can be attributed to armed conflicts in war zones.

In the Philippines, it is estimated that around 30,000 to 50,000 children were displaced by armed conflict every year for the past years, mostly in Mindanao.
The UN-MILF Action plan is a key component in ensuring protection for children in situations of armed conflict.

Signed in 2009, the Action Plan commits the MILF to concrete, time-bound activities pertaining to the prevention of recruitment and use of children as combatants or in supporting roles, the separation of any children under 18 from the command structure, unimpeded access for UN verification, and awareness raising on child rights and child protection for its military rank and file, as well as for MILF communities.

Orientations are currently being carried out across all 31 MILF base commands and seven Front Commands in Mindanao for Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) commanders and troops.

So far, 4,151 BIAF elements from 26 base commands and four fronts have received these trainings.

At the end of these sessions, MILF front and base commanders would publicly commit to ensure that no children are associated with their respective commands, and that if there are cases, these children will be separated from the command structure. (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera/MindaNews)


Read more http://www.mindanews.com/top-stories/2014/12/03/milf-assures-it-will-stop-using-child-soldiers/






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