UN rapporteur due in November
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) welcomed the scheduled visit in November of United Nations Special Rapporteur (UNSR) Mama Fatima Singhateh to discuss the government’s efforts to curb the abuse of children.
“The commission is hopeful that the visit will help enhance the capacity of government agencies and actors to protect children from all forms of abuse, particularly those involving the use of information and communication technology, which have become rampant in recent years,” the CHR said, adding that Singhateh is expected to arrive on Nov. 28.
Singhateh is a Gambian lawyer who served as judge of the Gambian Court of Appeals and later as justice minister and attorney general from 2013 to 2014, and again from 2015 to 2017.
The UN rapporteur, the commission said, is responsible for analyzing “the root causes of the sale and sexual exploitation of children and identify new and emerging patterns of the phenomena,” as well as promoting policies to combat and prevent the prevailing issue.
Presenting policies and measures made by the government in terms of protecting and upholding the rights of vulnerable children is also one of the CHR’s goals during Singhateh’s visit.
Ahead of new law’s enactment
“It is also expected that the Philippines will learn more about surrogacy, illegal adoption and online child sexual exploitation, which are the UNSR’s areas of interest,” it said.
The CHR is hopeful that the said visit would also aid in the drafting of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Republic Act No. 11930, or the Anti-Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children, which has lapsed into law last July.
“The upcoming engagement with the [UN rapporteur] is an opportune time to ensure that learnings and recommendations will be adopted in the drafting of the implementing rules and regulations of the said law. At the same time, we urge for the expeditious completion of the IRR to immediately enforce the law and reduce risk for children,” the human rights institution said.
“As we anticipate a productive engagement between the government and the UNSR, we also look forward to its meaningful translation into concrete mechanisms and policies that would improve the plight of vulnerable children and curb all forms of abuses suffered by them,” the CHR added.