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Hontiveros resolution urges gov’t to pay ‘comfort women’ reparations

Senator Risa Hontiveros on Monday filed a Senate resolution urging the Philippine government to fulfill its treaty obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and provide “just and meaningful” reparations to World War 2 “comfort women” and their families.

“The advances made by the Philippines to address gender inequality and sexual violence in contemporary times only highlight the inexcusable fight for victims of wartime sexual violence… There is only a small window of time to make meaningful reparations as many of the survivors have already passed away and the few that remain are in their twilight years,” Hontiveros said.

“It is therefore of extreme urgency that the Philippine government take immediate measures to provide reparations to the survivors and the families of victims of the wartime sexual violence of the Japanese Imperial Army,” she wrote in her resolution.

Last week, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women said the Philippines breached its obligations under the CEDAW.

The convention is an international legal instrument that requires countries to eliminate discrimination against women and girls in all areas and promotes women's and girls' equal rights.

The committee recommended that the complainants receive from the state "full reparation, including recognition and redress, an official apology and material and moral damages."

According to a press release on the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights website, the committee found that the Philippine government violated the rights of "comfort women" by "failing to provide reparation, social support and recognition commensurate with the harm suffered."

The complaints filed by 24 Filipinas, members of the Malaya Lolas (Free Grandmothers) - a non-profit organization that supports sexual slavery survivors, was the basis for the decision.

The Commission on Human Rights also called on the government to provide full reparations and seek an apology from the Japanese government for the suffering inflicted on “comfort women.” — DVM, GMA Integrated News