Women

Philippines Urged to Make Amends for Women Who Survived Brutal WWII Ordeal by Japanese Soldiers

The Philippines violated the rights of women victims of sexual slavery by the Japanese military during the Second World War by failing to redress the continuous discrimination and suffering they have endured, a UN women’s rights committee said in a decision published on Wednesday. 

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) called for the authorities to provide full reparation and an official apology to the survivors, who have suffered decades of physical, psychological and other consequences. 

‘Symbolic’ victory 

“This is a symbolic moment of victory for these victims who were previously silenced, ignored, written off and erased from history in the Philippines,” said Committee member Marion Bethel.   

“The Committee’s Views pave the way for restoring their dignity, integrity, reputation and honour,” she added. 

Fight for justice 

The decision stems from a complaint filed by 24 members of a non-profit organization called Malaya Lolas (“Free Grandmothers”), established to support sexual slavery survivors, commonly known within the Japanese armed forces as “comfort women”. 

They had repeatedly asked the Government to support their claims against Japan for reparations, asserting that failure to fight for their cause had essentially resulted in ongoing discrimination that continues to this day. 

Repeated rape and torture 

The complainants were forcibly taken to the headquarters of the Imperial Japanese Army in San Ildefonso, Pampanga province, known as Bahay na Pula (Red House), on 23 November 1944. 

They were detained there for one day to three weeks and were repeatedly subjected to rape and other sexual violence, torture, and inhumane detention conditions. 

The women have endured long-term consequences, including physical injuries, post-traumatic stress, permanent damage to their ability to have children, and other harm that has impacted their relationships and social standing. 

Seeking UN support 

Despite consistently raising claims at the domestic level, their efforts were dismissed by the authorities. Their last action was turned down by the Supreme Court in 2014.  

Five years later, the survivors brought their case to the UN Committee, which monitors the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. 

They sought to establish that the Philippines had to fulfil its commitments under the treaty, which is also known as CEDAW. 

Breaching CEDAW Convention 

The Committee noted that the Philippines had waived its right to compensation by signing the Treaty of Peace with Japan, though underlining that it is a case of continuous discrimination.  

Members also observed that the Philippine Commission on Women had not addressed the institutionalised system of wartime sexual slavery, its consequences for victims and survivors, or their protection needs.  

They further noted that Philippine war veterans, mostly men, “are entitled to special and esteemed treatment from the Government, such as educational benefits, healthcare benefits, old age, disability and death pensions.” 

The Committee concluded that the Philippines had breached its obligations under the CEDAW Convention, noting in particular that the authorities “had failed to adopt appropriate legislative and other measures to prohibit all discrimination against women, and protect women’s rights on an equal basis with men.” 

Restoring human dignity 

The Committee has requested that the Philippines provide the victims full reparation, including material compensation and an official apology for the continuing discrimination.  

“This case demonstrates that minimising or ignoring sexual violence against women and girls in war and conflict situations is, indeed, another egregious form of violation of women’s rights. We hope that the Committee’s Decision serves to restore human dignity for all of the victims, both deceased and living,” said Ms. Bethel. 

Source

13 Comments

  1. It’s crucial that the Philippines finally acknowledges and compensates the women who endured such horrific acts of violence during the war. The authorities must take responsibility and provide full reparation to these survivors, offering them the closure and justice they have long deserved.

  2. The Philippines must take responsibility for the mistreatment of these women survivors and provide the necessary reparation and official apology. It is crucial to acknowledge their suffering and fight for their rights to justice and dignity.

  3. The Philippines needs to take concrete actions to address the historic injustice suffered by these women who have endured so much pain and discrimination. It is essential for the authorities to provide the survivors with the reparation and apology they deserve for the physical and psychological trauma they have faced, as recognized by the Committee. This is a crucial step towards acknowledging their suffering and restoring their dignity and honor.

  4. It is crucial for the Philippines to acknowledge and rectify the historical injustices faced by the women who survived the brutal WWII ordeal by Japanese soldiers. The call for full reparation and an official apology is a necessary step towards addressing the continuous discrimination and suffering that these survivors have endured for decades.

  5. This decision represents a long-overdue step towards acknowledging the suffering and resilience of the women who survived the brutal WWII ordeal. It is crucial that the Philippines takes concrete actions to rectify the historical injustices these women faced and provide them with the recognition and support they deserve.

  6. Are there any specific reparations being demanded for the survivors of this brutal WWII ordeal?

    1. Specific reparations being demanded for the survivors of this brutal WWII ordeal include full compensation for their suffering, official apologies from the authorities, and measures to address the long-lasting physical and psychological consequences they have endured. It is crucial to recognize and address the immense trauma and injustice these women have faced.

  7. “It is imperative that the Philippines takes necessary steps to rectify their failures in addressing the plight of these courageous women who endured unspeakable horrors during WWII. The call for reparation and an official apology is a crucial first step in acknowledging their suffering and providing them with the justice they deserve. Let this be a moment of true reconciliation and empowerment for the survivors.”

  8. I strongly believe that it is crucial for the Philippines to acknowledge and rectify the injustices suffered by the women who endured the brutalities of World War II. It is imperative that they receive the full reparation, apology, and recognition they deserve after years of discrimination and hardship. Marion Bethel’s words resonate deeply, emphasizing the importance of restoring the dignity and honor of these survivors.

  9. This is a symbolic moment of victory for these victims who were previously silenced, ignored, written off and erased from history in the Philippines. The Committee’s Views pave the way for restoring their dignity, integrity, reputation, and honor.

  10. “The Philippines must acknowledge the suffering endured by these women and take immediate steps towards amending the injustice they faced. It is crucial that the authorities provide full reparation and a sincere apology to these survivors, ensuring their voices are finally heard and respected.”

  11. It is truly heartrending to learn about the suffering these women endured during WWII. The Philippines must take decisive action to right the wrongs and provide the necessary support and reparations to these survivors. Their resilience and courage in the face of unimaginable atrocities deserve our utmost respect and recognition.

  12. It is crucial that the Philippines takes concrete steps to rectify the historical injustices faced by these brave women survivors. We must ensure they receive the full reparation and official apology they rightfully deserve to start the healing process.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button