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On October 1992, in a special discussion on

children and armed conflict initiated by the
Committee on the Rights of the Child of the
United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF), the
plight of children caught in war or conflict gained
its most important audience: the world. The
following year, the UN General Assembly adopted
a resolution calling for the Secretary-General to
appoint an independent expert to lead a study on
the impact of armed conflict on children: Graa Machel - a Mozambican
educator and international advocate for children. Her groundbreaking
report, the Impact of Armed Conflict on Children, was presented to the
General Assembly in 1996, which led to the creation of the Office of the
Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed
Conflict (OSRSG-CAAC) in September 1997. It was unanimously endorsed
and has continued to move the world ever since.

In almost two decades since it was presented to the United Nations
General Assembly, Graa Machels report on the agony of children trapped
in armed conflict continues to rouse moral outrage and has been a
foundation for programming and advocacy the same foundation I believe
that the founders and stakeholders of the Save the Children of War in
Basilan Association, Inc. have laid down for the children of war in Basilan.

Machel has always believed [it is our] responsibility as adults to
give children futures worth having, and this is clearly not lost on the
Association as clearly enunciated in its inaugural theme Healing the past,
Celebrating the present, Saving the future. It is worth noting that the
primary interventions that the organization uses is well-enshrined in two
out of the ten recommendations in the Graca report, which are: (1) Peace
and security - The needs of children and women must be at the heart of all
actions to resolve conflicts and implement peace agreements; and (2)
Health, psychosocial well-being and education - These should be the
pillars of all humanitarian assistance for children in emergencies.
Psychosocial well-being can best be ensured through community rather
than institutional approaches.

Graca once said that she was shocked and angered to see how
shamefully [we] have failed in this responsibility. With the help of
Clinica de Lamitan, the Philippine Army and the Armed Forces of the
Philippines, the Child Fund International, the Furigay Colleges Inc., and
many other like-minded entities we hope that love and hope (not shock
and anger) descend on these children we seek to save from the physical
and psychological harm of war and conflict.

God bless the Association, at mabuhay po kayong lahat!

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