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âComfort womenâ sue goverment before UN
In 2010, the Supreme Court in a decision penned by Justice Mariano del Castillo denied their petition for certiorari with an application for a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction that accused the Philippine government of grave abuse of discretion in not giving the lolas war crime reparations.

‘Comfort women’ sue goverment before UN

(The Philippine Star) - November 29, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — For perpetuating a “culture of impunity” that discriminates against women, 24  grandmothers who survived the Japanese military’s sexual slavery during World War II have sued the Philippine government for failing to address their demand for reparations from Japan.

The 24 grandmothers belonging to the group Malaya Lola had served as “comfort women” for Japanese troops stationed in Pampanga.

They filed the complaint in the form of a communication submitted to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women on Monday.

They claimed that the Philippine government’s position favoring Japan over the comfort women constitutes a violation of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women.

“The failure of the Respondent State to espouse the claims of the author-victims in respect to reparations for having been subject to sexual slavery, rape and other forms of sexual violence as well as torture perpetuates a culture of impunity for discrimination against women within the meaning of Article 1,”  part of Malaya Lolas’ 38-page communication read.

Malaya Lolas president Lita Vinuya, 82, urged the UN to listen to their cause before it’s too late.

Their numbers have dwindled to 28 from 70 who had come out as comfort women.

“We are only 28 survivors. We all have illnesses. We might all be gone and never receive any legal help,” Vinuya said in Filipino. She was raped at the Bahay na Pula in San Ildefonso, Bulacan, where comfort women were detained by soldiers stationed in Pampanga. Vinuya was only seven at the time.

Their counsel Romel Bagares of CenterLaw yesterday said the victims have resorted to filing the complaint before the UN after exhausting all legal efforts in Philippine courts to seek reparation.

“Right now the only available option is the UN system, under a treaty to which we are a party,” said Bagares, who worked with lawyer Kimberly Anne Lorenzo on the comfort women’s case.

In 2010, the Supreme Court in a decision penned by Justice Mariano del Castillo denied their petition for certiorari with an application for a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction that accused the Philippine government of grave abuse of discretion in not giving the lolas war crime reparations.

The high court sided with the government that reparation claims against Japan had been waived under the San Francisco Peace Agreement of 1951, and that the Philippine government does not have any international obligation to grant their cause.

The high court denied the Malaya Lolas’ appeal in 2014. 

“In light of the Respondent State’s continuing failure to espouse the claims of the author-victims, the Respondent State has violated its general legal obligation as contained in the chapeau of Article 2, namely, to ‘pursue by all appropriate means and without delay a policy of eliminating discrimination against women,’” the comfort women said.

COMFORT WOMEN MARIANO DEL CASTILLO PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT
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