Philippines - Armed Conflict - Sexualized Violence

Philippines: Compensation for Sexual Slavery during Second World War

Philippines - Armed Conflict - Sexualized Violence

Philippines: Compensation for Sexual Slavery during Second World War

On 23 August 2013, ECCHR together with the Philippine Center for International Law (CenterLaw) submitted a petition to the Philippine Supreme Court. ECCHR and CenterLaw call for individual compensation to be provided to Philippine survivors of sexual violence (so-called "comfort women") during the Second World War.

Case

Since 2004, CenterLaw has represented 70 members of the Malaya Lolas organization, a survivors organization. The Malaya Lolas are calling on the Philippine government to support their compensation claim against Japan. During the Japanese occupation, Japanese military leadership ordered the establishment of a system of forced prostitution – or "comfort stations" – in the Philippines. In April 2010, the Philippine Supreme Court turned down the claimants' appeal. After having exhausted all domestic options, ECCHR and CenterLaw have now brought the Malaya Lolas' case to the UN–level, by presenting an individual complaint to the UN Special Rapporteurs on Violence Against Women and on Contemporary Forms of Slavery. The complaint stresses that the ongoing denial of justice for the Malaya Lolas is a clear case of gender discrimination and requests the Special Rapporteurs to urge the government of the Philippines to file a claim for reparations against Japan.

Context

In the petition, submitted in relation to a new hearing on the case, ECCHR stresses that already at the time of the Second World War, the systematic wartime enslavement of women constituted a violation of international law and that the survivors have a right to individual compensation. The petition is supported by international legal experts including Theo van Boven, Patricia Viseur Sellers, Andreas Fischer-Lescano and Ustinia Dolgopol. On 12 August 2014, however, the Philippine Supreme Court denied the ECCHR petition without addressing the abovementioned arguments.

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glossary

Individuals complaints allow persons or groups to enforce their rights.
Sexualized violence refers to aggressive acts with a gender/sexual element carried out without the consent of the victim.
UN Special Rapporteurs are appointed by the UN to work on a specific mandate.

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