BHRC, UNICEF SIGNS ROLLING WORKPLAN, STRENGTHENS PARTNERSHIP FOR THE BANGSAMORO CHILDREN
The Bangsamoro Human Rights Commission (BHRC) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have signed a Rolling Work Plan to strengthen their partnership for the protection of children’s rights and the monitoring of grave child rights violations in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
The signing ceremony was held on May 5, 2023, with BHRC Chairperson Atty. Abdul Rashid P. Kalim and UNICEF Country Representative Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov leading the proceedings. Key personnel from both organizations, as well as Child Rights Advocates (CRAs), were present to witness the signing of the Rolling Work Plan.
The collaboration between the BHRC and UNICEF aims to monitor and report grave child rights violations, as well as address other areas of concern affecting children in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) and Bangsamoro communities outside BARMM. This partnership is underpinned by a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by both parties.
In her message of commitment, Ms. Dendevnorov emphasized that the BHRC is an essential partner of UNICEF, given its mandate to promote, protect, and fulfill human rights, and function as the Children Ombud for the Bangsamoro. She expressed gratitude to the BHRC for its unwavering commitment to child rights and emphasized that the partnership would strengthen their collective efforts to promote and protect children’s rights.
Meanwhile, BHRC Chairperson Atty. Abdul Rashid P. Kalim expressed his gratitude to UNICEF for its continued support. He highlighted that the work plan between BHRC and UNICEF would further the inseparable advocacy of promoting and protecting the human rights of children. “Together,” he said, “we will strengthen our capacity to monitor and document child rights violations, engage with duty-bearers to address the root causes, and empower children to claim their rights.”
Chairperson Kalim also expressed his commitment to the promotion, protection, and fulfillment of the human rights of every Bangsamoro child, “not only as the Chairperson of the BHRC but also as a father to his children.”
The BHRC and UNICEF have worked tirelessly to achieve their program outputs and targets. In 2022, their joint efforts resulted in the verification of 81 percent of grave child rights violations (GCRVs) in BARMM, surpassing their initial target of 80 percent. These GCRVs encompass a range of issues, including the killing, maiming, recruitment, and use of children in armed conflict, as well as attacks on schools and personnel.
As part of their agreement, BHRC and UNICEF have undertaken various activities to implement the Monitoring and Reporting of GCRVs in BARMM. These include capacity-building activities for BHRC personnel and other duty-bearers, awareness-raising campaigns on child rights, and the provision of psychosocial support and other services for affected children.
The BHRC-UNICEF partnership underscores the critical role of collaboration between government agencies, civil society organizations, and international bodies in protecting the rights of children. By working together, they can ensure that every child in the Bangsamoro and beyond enjoys their fundamental human rights and grows up in a safe and nurturing environment.