UNICEF statement on the impact of the drug war on children’s rights in the Philippines

Statement attributable to Lotta Sylwander, UNICEF Representative, Philippines

22 August 2017

MANILA, 22 August 2017 – UNICEF Philippines is deeply concerned about the impact of the war on drugs on Filipino children.

The death of 17-year-old Kian Delos Santos during the drug raid in Caloocan City and the circumstances of his untimely death in relation to the State’s war on drugs are deeply disturbing.

UNICEF offers its condolences to Kian’s family. We share their grief and the grief of all the families of children who have been killed, as well as of children who have lost parents, caregivers and relatives, during anti-drug operations.

A fair and transparent investigation into Kian’s death should be undertaken as a matter of urgency. This investigation must be undertaken in a manner that seeks to guarantee the best interests of children and promote respect for their rights. Those who are responsible for killings and deliberate violence against children must be held accountable.

The best interests of children must be the guiding principle in every action by Government officials. Actions, no matter the motivation, that increase the risks children face or violate their rights are not in accordance with the responsibilities of signatories to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The Philippines, as a State Party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, has a legal and moral obligation to promote, protect and fulfil the human rights of every child. Every child’s right to life, to develop to her or his full potential, to be heard, and to be protected from all forms of violence are universal and inalienable. There are no exceptions. These rights apply without qualification.

UNICEF Philippines joins the many organizations and individuals coming together to demand action to prevent any further loss of children’s lives. There is no higher value for a society than to protect its own children and youth.


For further information please contact:

Zafrin Chowdhury, Chief of Communication, UNICEF Philippines, +632 901 01 77, +63 917 867 8366, zchowdhury@unicef.org

Marge Francia, Communication Officer, UNICEF Philippines, +632 901 01 73, +63 917 858 9447, mfrancia@unicef.org

Joe English, UNICEF New York, +1 917 893 0692 jenglish@unicef.org

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