MANILA – The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Monday condemned cases of sexual abuse and violence targeting children and called for a whole-of-society responsibility to prevent such acts.
The CHR said it deplores all acts of gender-based violence, especially when it involves vulnerable children whose perpetrators are family members and acquaintances exploiting the victims’ trust.
“These are gross violations against Republic Act No. 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act, and several international human rights instruments, primarily the Convention on the Rights of the Child,” the CHR said in a statement.
The first case happened on April 7 in Barangay Cabuco, Trece Martires, Cavite, where a seven-year-old girl was found injured on a riverbank.
“Though active bystanders chased off the then-unknown suspect and rushed the victim to a hospital, she was unfortunately declared dead on arrival,” the CHR said.
“Later investigation and witness accounts identified the suspect as the victim’s godfather who was seen under the heavy influence of alcohol on the same morning of the incident.”
The second case occurred on April 9 in Davao City, where the body of a 10-year-old girl was discovered near a banana grove.
“Two days earlier, the victim’s grandmother asked the cohabiting partner of one of their relatives to babysit the girl, but found the child missing when she returned,” the CHR said.
“This cohabiting partner soon surrendered himself to the police and confessed to sexually abusing the victim and leaving behind her corpse.”
On April 9, a three-year-old girl was raped by her grandfather inside their house in Sto. Tomas, Batangas as the victim’s mother was away selling candles for Easter Sunday.
Police investigation revealed it was not the first time that the suspect had abused his granddaughter and that he had been previously accused of sexually assaulting a pregnant woman.
Meanwhile, a couple was arrested for the rape and online sex trafficking of six-year-old child in Mabalacat, Pampanga on April 11.
Local authorities tracked the suspects’ location after their client was arrested by foreign counterparts in Australia.
Upon inspecting their gadgets, the authorities discovered that the couple had been abusing their child for almost a year, and had committed the same offense against other children who are yet to be identified.
“Nothing can justify rape and any form of sexual abuse against children. Regardless of motive and substance or alcohol influence, a person should be held fully liable for harming and abusing another human being,” it added.
The CHR has mobilized its regional offices to conduct independent investigations of the cases and seek ways to extend support to authorities and the victims’ families.
It said families and communities must be vigilant, educated, and aware of signs of sexual abuse to complement government and civil society efforts in promoting and protecting children’s rights. (PNA)