What Are the Rights of the Filipino Children?

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The U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, signed and ratified by the Philippines, states that children have inherent human rights and violating them is internationally illegal. These include the rights to life and development, physical and mental protection, non-discrimination and health. Children are also entitled to the rights to have an identity, get an education, remain free of exploitation and to be raised by a loving family.

Although the Philippines signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990, as of 2014, it is poorly enforced. Between 26 and 30 percent of the Filipino population lives below the poverty line, which causes hunger and malnutrition in children, and 22 percent of children are underweight, causing developmental disorders and diseases. Remote regions of the Philippines, where health care is almost nonexistent, are in dire need of medical aid. Academic, hygienic and medical health education is not widespread. Only 67 of every 100 kids who begin elementary school ever graduate.

Ten to 12 percent of Filipino children are forced into child labor by parents to provide additional financial support. Most of these children work as scavengers in garbage dumps or as farmhands. The sex industry in the Philippines features heinous exploitation of children through sex trafficking, sex tourism and prostitution. These abuses are widespread and acknowledged but still commonplace. Children are often recruited by non-state groups and used as soldiers, especially by the New People's Army. The government has repeatedly killed or imprisoned children used by these groups.