The Commission on Human Rights has strongly denounced the alleged sexual abuse the New People’s Army rebels had committed against two minor girls in Kananga, Leyte.
Philippine Army’s 93rd Infantry Battalion rescued the two victims from an NPA camp on September 13, based on the report of government forces.
The military said the two girls told them the NPA rebels sexually abused them. They also said the insurgents forced them to take oral contraceptives.
“In armed situations characterized by violence, brutality, and coercion, perpetrators can operate with even greater impunity. We strongly denounce the use of sexual violence as a widespread and systematic tactic of war,” De Guia said.
“Sexual slavery and recruitment of child soldiers, among others, are forms of human trafficking. These horrendous acts towards vulnerable individuals allegedly being practiced by rebel forces are not just employed to spread fear and gain victims, but to use them as incentives to recruit new fighters,” CHR spokesperson and lawyer Jacqueline Ann de Guia added.
De Guia noted that international humanitarian law equally protects civilians, including women and children. She added that both government and non-government parties are obligated to respect human rights and dignity even in times of armed conflict.
CHR condemns NPA rebels’ alleged sexual abuse vs. minors in Leyte
“We call on the government to provide redress for the victims, including multi-sectoral assistance for health, psycho-social support, and reintegration in their communities. They require rehabilitation and special attention after their demobilization from the camp,” De Guia said.
“Most importantly, we urge the authorities to conduct swift investigation on the case to further find out the truth behind these accounts and ensure that offenders will immediately be held to account,” she added.
De Guia said the CHR would also launch an independent investigation on the alleged sexual abuse committed by NPA rebels.
“There are no more peace talks to talk about,” the President said in a taped message. “I am not and will never be ready for any round of talks.”