CHR to govt: Uphold local, int’l tack in addressing gender-based violence
MANILA, Philippines — As the world commemorates the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) called on the government to uphold its local and international commitments in addressing all forms of gender-based violence.
“The Philippines has very good legislations on the protection of women and girls but we lack in the strong enforcement of the law,” CHR spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia said in a statement on Monday.
“The Commission reminds the government to uphold its local and international commitments in addressing all forms of gender-based violence as enshrined in the 1987 Constitution and international human-rights conventions,” she added.
De Guia pointed out that while violence against women (VAW) has been a widespread human-rights violation, abuses remain unreported due to the shame and stigma surrounding it.
The United Nations defined VAW as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or likely to result in, physical, sexual, or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life,” De Guia noted.
“VAW, including rape, is deeply rooted in patriarchal beliefs and unequal treatment of women in our society,’ she said.
“Aside from enduring the violent act, women are further subjected to victim-blaming, sexual objectification, and trivialization of the assault,” she added.
The CHR spokesperson further said that denial of such crimes against women “is the ultimate attack to women’s dignity.”
“It clearly illustrates the widespread impunity on sexual violence and other forms of VAW,” she added.
She also underscored the importance of ensuring that women and girls are aware of their rights, are empowered to exercise them, and understand that they have full control of their bodies and sexualities.
“It is equally vital to educate everyone, especially men and boys, about their responsibility to respect the rights of others,” she said.
“Likewise, it is every individual’s duty to create a safe environment for all women especially the victims of abuses, for them to report the crimes committed against them,” she added.
The “most vulnerable victims of gender–based violence,” De Guia further said, should have access to support services such as safe shelters, trauma support and counseling.
She said the CHR “is committed to keep working tirelessly with government and civil society partners to strengthen legal frameworks and institutions in addressing the root causes of violence, supporting women’s education and development, establish mechanisms and services for survivors of violence, and to continuously advocate for women empowerment.”
De Guia added that the “best tribute” that could be given to survivors and advocates of women’s human rights “is to continue working on the gains of those who have come before us and to highlight the opportunities where we can contribute in to ensure the total elimination of VAW in the country and the world.”
“Ending violence against women and girls is not a short-term struggle,” she said.
“It requires sustained efforts from everyone in the community,” she added.
Edited by JPV
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