UNICEF is concerned about a recent viral social media post of an 18-month old child being mistreated by his mother in gross violation of his rights and dignity.
“We condemn in the strongest terms this incident that clearly violated a young child’s rights, well-being and dignity. Children have the right to protection under international and national laws. It is incumbent upon parents, adults, the state and all others stakeholders to ensure children are protected from abuse, violence and neglect and are nurtured in an environment for care and development,” said UNICEF Philippines Representative Lotta Sylwander.
Sylwander cited Article 19 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which the Philippine government has ratified, mandating that all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures must be done to protect children from any form of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation; while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.
DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman has also strongly condemned the incident. The department has stated that while an investigation is on-going, the mother must also undergo psycho-social examination and counseling follow-up. Both the child’s parents will be required to undergo evaluation of their parenting capability.
“UNICEF appreciates the immediate actions and investigation initiated by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and its social workers in taking temporary custody of the child from his mother in Orani, Bataan, and keeping the child in a residential center for children,” Sylwander added.
As mandated in the CRC, a child temporarily or permanently deprived of a family environment, or in whose own best interests cannot be allowed to remain in that environment, shall be entitled to special protection and assistance provided by the government. In accordance with national laws, the DSWD will thus ensure alternative care for this child.
Such protective measures should, as appropriate, include effective procedures to establish social programs providing necessary support for the child and for those who have the care of the child. Likewise, other forms of prevention and identification, reporting, referral, investigation, treatment and follow-up of instances of child maltreatment described heretofore, and, as appropriate, for judicial involvement, shall be readily made available.
“All children have the right to grow and develop to their fullest potential, and they can only do this if they are free from abusive or negligent treatment; and when given proper care and access to school and play. Incidents of psychological maltreatment and debasement in complete disregard for the human dignity of the child must be avoided at all costs, especially by parents and those in the immediate circle of every child,” Sylwander concluded.
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UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
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