Save the Children hails SC decision upholding children’s right to protection

Save the Children Philippines commended the Supreme Court of the Philippines for upholding the rights of a 14-year-old girl to dignity and protection through the favorable decision of the case filed involving a couple who made humiliating and degrading remarks against her in 2004.

Maria (not her real name), was on the verge of taking her own life as she suffered from harassment, intimidation, and false and malicious rumors spread against her by the parents of her boyfriend who disapproved of their relationship.

“We laud the decision of the Supreme Court as it exemplifies the duty of the State to take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social, and educational measures to protect children, like Maria, from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, and maltreatment or exploitation, in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) Article 19,” the group said in a statement.

Save the Children said it agrees with the Supreme Court that “the best interest of the child is not justified through cruel or degrading punishment as it conflicts with the human dignity of the child.”

This includes “punishment which belittles, humiliates, denigrates, scapegoats, threatens, scares or ridicules a child.”

It added that adults have the duty to care for and protect children, and should be role models for good behavior.

Also, acts that humiliate and degrade children whether or not in the context of disciplining the child is a violation of children’s rights. Unfortunately, such acts are still not legally prohibited in the context of discipline particularly in the home setting.

The Committee on the Rights of the Child’s Concluding Observations to the Philippines’ 3rd to 6th periodic reports on the implementation of the UNCRC has continuously reiterated its concern that our laws do not explicitly prohibit physical, humiliating, and degrading punishments.

“As a State Party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, we reiterate our collective responsibility and obligation to defend and ensure that children’s rights are respected, protected, and fulfilled,” Save the Children said.

In the past 15 years, Save the Children Philippines has been leading the advocacy for the passage of a law that promotes positive parenting and that would protect children from physical and humiliating forms of punishment.

“We strongly urge the government, parents, communities, child rights advocates, and all sectors to unite in the immediate passage of the Positive Parenting Act which will afford Filipino parents, families, and communities of effective methods to raise and discipline children in love, dignity, and respect.”

Save the Children Philippines also called on all Filipinos to be the role models in respecting the fundamental rights of children and to be reminded of our duties to protect all children whether they are our own or not.