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SRSG Zerrougui welcomes progress in the Mindanao peace process and reminds all parties that children should be at the centre of the peace talks

New York, 23 October 2012 – The Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict welcomes the landmark peace agreement between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), establishing a framework for settling the decade-long conflict in Mindanao. “This is a major step not only to bring peace and reconciliation to the region, but also to alleviate the plight of children affected by the conflict”, SRSG Zerrougui said.
 
In August 2009, the MILF and the United Nations in the Philippines signed an Action Plan to halt and prevent the recruitment and use of children in the armed conflict in Mindanao. The MILF, with the support of the United Nations, has taken action to build awareness of its international obligations within their ranks and communities, as well as to provide alternatives to children to prevent their association with the armed group.
 
In Mindanao, children associated with the MILF often perform tasks in support of combatants which expose them to clear risk. “The MILF and the United Nations, with the much needed support of the international community, must seize the opportunity of this peace dialogue to fully implement the Action Plan to ensure that children have no role in armed groups”, Special Representative Zerrougui explained.
 
Ms. Zerrougui also expressed concern over reports of recruitment and use of children by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), a break-away faction of the MILF, and calls for the release of children from their ranks as an immediate priority.
 
 
For more information, please contact:
 
Laurent Dutordoir
Associate Political Affairs Officer
Office of the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict
+19173673563
dutordoir@un.org
 
Alec Wargo
Program Officer
Office of the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict
+12129638979
wargo@un.org

 

 
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