Press Release
September 24, 2013

'Respect rights of civilians caught in armed conflict'
Senator Pia S. Cayetano
Chair, Senate Committee on Education , Arts and Culture

"The newest attack on a school and several villages by reported elements of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Midsayap, North Cotabato on Monday is deplorable.

"Innocent civilians including public school teachers and students were trapped during the firefight and classes were disrupted.

"Various United Nations instruments guarantee the rights and safety of civilians during armed conflict. The 1974 UN Declaration on the Protection of Women and Children in Emergency and Armed Conflict recognizes that these sectors are the most vulnerable in conflict situations.

"Using civilians as human shields, placing their lives at risk in the crossfire, and other forms of violence committed against civilians are violations of human rights."

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