8 March 2010
Amnesty International says victims of domestic violence denied access to justice, despite RA 9262
Victims of rape, sexual and domestic violence worldwide are denied access to justice due to gender discrimination and assumptions about the sexual behavior of victims of rape said Amnesty International today.
“Domestic violence in our country remains pervasive despite an anti- violence against women and children law (Anti-VAWVC Act or RA 9262) passed in 2004. Stories of women who courageously broke their silence about domestic violence show that protection by government from violence of husbands or other intimate partners have not completely eradicated traumatic experiences in the family”, lamented Dr. Aurora Corazon A. Parong, Section Director of Amnesty International Philippines.
To mark International Women’s Day, members of Amnesty International Philippines joined the march from España to Mendiola calling for the stop of violence against women in all its forms. The participants, mostly women, “Marching Together against Violence”, called on the Philippines government agencies and institutions to exercise due diligence to prevent, investigate, punish acts of intimate partner violence against women and their children and provide services and reparations for the victim-survivors.
Earlier in the year, Amnesty International Philippines together with the Women Working Together to Stop Violence Against Women (WWTSVAW) network launched a report entitled “BREAKING the SILENCE, SEEKING JUSTICE in INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE in the PHILIPPINES”.
“The report is a review of the implementation of Republic Act 9262 or the Anti Violence Against Women and their Children Act of 2004. The law is considered as a significant victory for women because many of its provisions are based on the inalienable right of women not to suffer discrimination and violence most especially within an intimate relationship,” explained Dr. Aurora Parong.
Parong further explained, “Protection of women’s rights does not end with the enactment of a law. It needs a follow through in implementation. Six years later after the birth of RA 9262, we see many loopholes in the implementation. AI Philippines supports the victims of domestic violence in their continued struggle to seek justice and reclaim their dignity.”
The WWTSVAW report outlines six recommendations for the six years of failure in implementation of RA 9262. The legislative body is called upon to amend RA 9262 to allow for the renewal of the Barangay Protection Order (BPO) which is the most accessible protection for women victim and children victims of violence. It also included recommendations for the local government units (LGU), the courts and the Commission on Human Rights to diligently do their share for the full implementation of RA 9262. It calls on government, individuals and communities to take part in realizing women’s rights.
“We call on the Inter-Agency Council on Violence against Women and Children (IAC-VAWC) to comprehensively assess the effectiveness of all programs towards providing services to women and children victim-survivors. They must also ensure allocation of funds and establish mechanisms for effective and sustained monitoring of their programs for women,” added Parong.
Amnesty International also said that a government which champions the rights of women is urgently needed in the Philippines. A champion of women’s rights must work towards the eradication of violence against women and towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals to enhance the promotion of gender equality and women’s rights.
“Domestic violence, as defined by the law, is not anymore a private matter only for the family to handle. It is a public scandal and a grave abuse to women’s rights. The law provides that all units of society must act to prevent domestic violence. While this is true, the lack of political will to implement the law has made it only a piece of paper that the president signed in 2004, “ concluded Parong.
For the copy of the Breaking the Silence, Seeking Justice in Intimate Partner Violence in the Philippines Report, please go to www.amnesty.org.ph/publications.php
Maria Edilyd Orias
Media, Communication and Publications