Clarification on Our Meeting with the UN Special Representative
on Children and Armed Conflict*
Fidel V. Agcaoili
NDFP Human Rights Monitoring Committee
April 13, 2011
The Human Rights Monitoring Committee of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) would like to make the following clarification in connection with its exploratory meeting with the United Nations (UN) Special Representative on Children and Armed Conflict, Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy on 7 April 2011 at the Mandarin Hotel in Makati:
In the said meeting with the UN Special representative on Children and Armed Conflict, we were handed a generic proposed action plan between the UN Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict and armed groups in internal conflicts with States for consideration and study by the NDFP.
We replied that we shall relay the generic proposed action plan with the leadership of the Philippine revolutionary movement. We also said that said generic proposed action plan can be discussed during the planned visit of the UN Special Representative in May 2011 in Utrecht, The Netherlands to meet with the NDFP Negotiating Panel.
We also submitted a letter of protest to the UN Special Representative in connection with its yearly reports to the UN Secretary General to the UN Security Council and the General Assembly. We attached herewith a copy of said letter for the information of everyone.
At no time during the meeting did we acknowledge the existence of so-called child soldiers in the ranks of the New People's Army (NPA) given the policy directive of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) to raise the recruitment age to 18 into the NPA as early as 1988 and reiterated in two memoranda by the Military Commission of the Central Committee (CC) of the CPP in August 1999 and the Executive Committee of the CPP in October 199, respectively.
We are issuing this clarification to dispel any wrong impression which may have been created in the press release issued during the media conference of the UN Special Representative on Children and Armed Conflict on 9 April 2011 regarding the NPA’s alleged recruitment of children.