The Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is the body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child1 by its State parties. It also monitors implementation of two optional protocols to the Convention: involvement of children in armed conflict2 and sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.3
All States parties are obliged to submit regular reports4 to the Committee on how the rights are being implemented. States must report initially two years after acceding to the Convention and then every five years. The Committee examines each report and addresses its concerns and recommendations to the State party in the form of “concluding observations".
21 September 20055
The Committee is concerned:
* about discrimination faced by many children, as regards their access to social and health services and education.
* about violations of the right to life of children due to the internal armed conflict.
* at a number of reported cases of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment of children, particularly for children in detention. The Committee is of the view that existing legislation does not provide children with an adequate level of protection against torture and ill treatment.
* that a provision for corporal punishment is not included in the Child and Youth Welfare Code and regrets that corporal punishment in the home is not explicitly prohibited by law.
* about the increasing reports of cases of child abuse and neglect and the notable deficiencies in the domestic legislation as regards penalizing all forms of abuse, neglect and mistreatment, including sexual abuse. In addition, the Committee deeply regrets the alleged cases of sexual abuse of children in the framework of religious institutions.
* about children, sometimes as young as 11 years old, being recruited by armed rebel movements, such as the New People’s Army, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, and the Abu Sayyaf Group, to serve as combatants, spies, guards, cooks or medics.
* that even though the State party is able to provide only the arrested child soldiers with physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration services, the majority of children involved in and affected by armed conflict is never reached.
* about the continuing displacement of children and their limited access to social and health services, education and, above all, to development due to the adverse effects of internal armed conflict.
* at the impact of internal armed conflict on children not involved in hostilities, particularly Muslim children living in the Mindanao region.
* at the high number of child workers, 3.7 million, and about cultural attitudes and practices as regards child labour and the weak enforcement of labour laws.
*at the high number of children living in the streets and their special vulnerability to various forms of violence and abuse, including sexual abuse and exploitation, economic exploitation and substance abuse.
* at the lack of a systematic and comprehensive strategy to address the situation and protect children living in the streets.
* about street children’s limited access to adequate nutrition, clothing, housing, social and health services and education.
* about the sexual exploitation of children, including growing child prostitution, and the reported cases of child pornography.
* that the minimum age of sexual consent is not clearly enough established in the State party’s domestic legislation and that the Revised Penal Code (Republic Act No. 3815) imposes maximum penalties for sexual offences when the victim is under 12 years of age but imposes lower penalties for sexual offences against minors over 12 years of age.
* at the high level of crime and the high number of persons below 18 years of age in detention in the State party, the persistent violations of the rights of children in conflict with the law, the alleged cases of torture, abuse, including sexual abuse and other forms of degrading treatment of persons below 18 years of age in detention, and the overall deficiencies in the administration of the Philippine juvenile justice system.
* about the very low minimum age of criminal responsibility (9 years).
* about the placement of persons below 18 years of age together with adults in detention.