04 July 2019, Geneva, Switzerland – The Philippines, a strong advocate of children’s rights and anti-human trafficking organized a panel discussion on Access to remedy for children victims and survivors of trafficking last 28 June at the Palais des Nations.
“The Philippines is privileged to organize this important and timely discussion in line with this year’s 30th year of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Specifically, we hope that this would contribute to raising further awareness and stimulating substantive exchange of views and sharing of experiences on the issue of access to remedy for children victims of trafficking,” said Atty. Maria Theresa Sindico-Guillaume of the Phlippine Department of Justice, who added, “This initiative is undertaken in support of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, as well as the important mandates of the Special Rapporteur on trafficking and the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children.”
Hon. Camilo Gudmalin, Undersecretary for Special Concerns of the Philippine Department of Social Welfare, highlighted the country’s programs for trafficked victims. It has sea, air- and land-based anti-trafficking task forces that have the mandate to arrest human traffickers and rescue victims. It likewise has intensified its campaign against trafficking through basic awareness seminars and distribution of information materials and videos, and through promotion among youth, women, academe, transport groups and business communities. Following the milestones in the Philippines’s antihuman trafficking efforts, the US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report in June 2016 recognized the Philippines’ efforts to combat trafficking with a Tier-1 ranking, the highest compliance level a government can achieve for its anti-trafficking measures. This ranking is maintained up to present, remarked Undersecretary Gudmalin.
In the Human Rights Council as well as in other multilateral and international fora, the Philippines has strong advocacies, among others, on the issues of anti-human trafficking; the rights of women and children and their protection from violence; migration governance and the rights of migrants.
Atty. Maria Theresa Sindico-Guillaume of the Phlippine Department of Justice delivers the Opening Remarks at the Forum organized by the Philippines on the importance of children’s rights on 28 June 2019 at the Palais des Nations, Geneva, Hon. Camilo Gudmalin, Undersecretary for Special Concerns of the Philippine Department of Social Welfare, shares the Philippine experience and best practices on protecting human rights for children and on anti-human trafficking during the forum.
The forum’s panel featured Ms. Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, UN Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children; Ms. Mikiko Otani, Expert from the Committee on the Rights of the Child; Ms. Noha Roukoz, Awareness Project Officer of Caritas Lebanon; Mr. Afshan Khan, Regional Director and Special Coordinator for Refugee and Migrant Response in Europe from the UNICEF Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia; and, Ms. Catherine Mbengue, Senior Advisor of ECPAT International.
Hon. Camilo Gudmalin, Undersecretary for Special Concerns of the Philippine Department of Social Welfare, shares the Philippine experience and best practices on protecting human rights for children and on anti-human trafficking during the forum.
The well-attended interactive discussion centered on existing challenges hampering access to remedy for children victims of trafficking, particularly in the context of migration, and on good practices on access to justice for children victims of trafficking.
The forum was participated in by delegations, child rights advocates, NGOs, and stakeholders.
Co-sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Australia, Austria, Brazil, Croatia, Hungary, Peru, Germany, as well as of Caritas International, Child Rights Connect, ECPAT, and UNICEF, the forum demonstrated the strong expressions of cooperation and solidarity of these countries or institutions on this important theme.
The forum was held on the sidelines of the 41st UN Human Rights Council, which started on 24 June and will conclude on 12 July 2019. The UN Human Rights Council holds regular sessions in Geneva three times a year, in March, June, and September, to discuss human rights issues.