The rights of Filipino children in armed conflict: reflections on international and national legal frameworks


children's rights


There is a great amount of international attention directed towards the recruitment and involvement of children in armed conflict. In response to this, Philippine legislators have passed laws to assist and protect these children. However, most of these are not reflective of the reality of children and may even further disadvantage them. This paper explores international and national policies directed towards children in armed conflict through the perspective of children’s rights. It aims to paint a more realistic and rights-oriented approach towards the understanding of children in armed conflict. The importance of this not only rests on the growing amount of international attention directed towards this issue, but more importantly, because doing so promotes efforts in fulfilling the fundamental rights of children.




Al Jazeera English Youtube Channel. 2018. “Philippines: ISIL-linked Maute Group Recruiting Children in Marawi.” Al Jazeera. Retrieved 10 April, 2019 (

Al Jazeera News 2017. “Hundreds of MILF Child Soldiers Released in the Philippines.” Al Jazeera News. Retrieved 10 April, 2019 (

Barrete, Reuben James. 2017. “Children as Combatants in the Philippines.” Rappler. Retrieved 10 April, 2019 (

Barrete, Reuben James & Luke Lischin. 2017. “Philippine Insurgents Making Soldiers of Children, Thanks to Widespread Alienation.” South China Morning Post. Retrieved April 2019 (

Bosch, Shannon. 2012. “Targeting and Prosecuting ‘Under-aged’ Child Soldiers in International Armed Conflicts, in Light of the International Humanitarian Law Prohibition Against Civilian Direct Participation in Hostilities.” The Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa 45(3):324–364.

Cepeda, Mara. 2019. “House Approves Bill Requiring ROTC for Grades 11, 12.” Rappler. Retrieved 10 April, 2019 (

De Berry, Jo. 2001. “Child Soldiers and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 575: 2–105.

Denov, Myriam. 2008. “Girl Soldiers and Human Rights: Lessons from Angola, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, and Northern Uganda.” The International Journal of Human Rights 12(5): 813–836.

De Silva, Harendra., Chris Hobbs, and Helga Hanks. 2001. “Conscription of Children in Armed Conflict—A Form of Child Abuse.” Child Abuse Review 10: 125–134.

Dickson-Gomez, Julia. 2003. “Growing Up in Guerilla Camps: The Long-Term Impact of Being a Child Soldier in El Salvador’s Civil War.” Ethos 30(4): 327–356.

Druba, Volker. 2002. “The Problem of Child Soldiers.” International Review of Education 48(3-4): 271–277.

Fonbuena, Carmela. 2017. “I Met a Former Maute Soldier. He’s a Child.” Rappler. Retrieved 10 April 2019 (

Grover, Sonja. 2008. “‘Child Soldiers’ as ‘Non-Combatants’: The Inapplicability of the Refugee Convention Exclusion Clause.” International Journal of Human Rights 12(1): 63–66.

Harris, Malcolm. 2015. “When a Child Goes to War.” Aeon. Retrieved 10 April 2019 (

Hart, Jason. 2006. “The Politics of ‘Child Soldiers’.” The Brown Journal of World Affairs 13(1): 217–226.

International Committee of the Red Cross. 2010. Protocols Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949.

Matsuzawa, Mikas. 2017. “Marawi Crisis: What We Know—and Don’t Know—So Far.” Philstar. Retrieved 10 April 2019 (

The Republic of the Philippines 1974. Presidential Decree No. 603, The Child and Youth Welfare Code.

The Republic of the Philippines. 2018. Republic Act 11188 of 2018.

Tan, Lara. 2017. “PH Military Exercising Caution Vs. Maute Child Soldiers in Marawi.” CNN Philippines. Retrieved 10 April 2019 (

UNICEF. 2019. “Law Protecting Child Soldiers a Victory for the Philippines.” UNICEF. Retrieved 10 April 2019 (

UNICEF. 1997. Cape Town Principles and Best Practices.

UNICEF. 2007. The Paris Principles.

Remitio, R. 2017. “Nearly Half of Remaining Maute Fighters in Marawi are Children.” CNN Philippines. Retrieved April 2019 (

Rosen, David M. 2005. Armies of the Young: Child Soldiers in War and Terrorism. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.

Rosen, David M. 2007. “Child Soldiers, International Humanitarian Law, and the Globalization of Childhood.” American Anthropologist 109(2): 296–306.

Wessells, Michael G. 1998. “Children, Armed Conflict, and Peace.” Journal of Peace Research 35(5): 635–646.