UN Sec-Gen lauds MILF for efforts that removed it from UN list of groups using and recruiting children

United Nations (UN) Secretary General Antonio Guterres lauded the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) for its efforts in implementing the 2009 UN-MILF Action Plan, a measure that aimed to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children in the armed conflict. 

The MILF now is removed from the UN list of armed groups recruiting and using children. 

“Regarding MILF, I commend it for the significant progress in implementing its action plan to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children. In this regard, all 1,869 children identified by MILF as associated with its armed wing underwent formal disengagement in a series of ceremonies, the last of which was held in March 2017,” Guterres disclosed during his report to the UN General Assembly held at the UN Headquarter in New York City on august 24, 2017.

The action plan committed the MILF to implement concrete activities pertaining to unimpeded access to its camps by the monitoring team, prevent the recruitment and release and reintegrate any children below the age of 18 and initiate information awareness drive on the child rights and child protection mechanism within the MILF communities.

Initially, it created a five-member panel tasked to interact with the UN and UNICEF, , the UN’s agency for children,

With the help of UNICEF, the MILF intensified its campaign in the base camps orienting officers and elements of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces on child’ rights, child protection and the grave child’s rights violation.

Plan International, an iNGO, and Bangsamoro Development Agency, the MILF’s economic arm, were tapped in the campaign.

The MILF leadership also issued General Order to its base commanders and officers to prohibit the recruitment of children under 18.