PH should implement UN decision on WWII comfort women – lawyer

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 9) — The legal counsel for so-called comfort women during Japan's occupation of the Philippines urged the government to uphold the decision of a United Nations body on the rights of victims of sexual slavery committed by the Japanese Imperial Army.

The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (UN CEDAW) said the country violated the rights of the victims.

RELATED: UN: PH violated rights of WWII sexual slavery victims by Japanese army

"This is really the Philippines failing to provide an effective remedy to the comfort women despite, in the words of the view, the extreme violence that the comfort women suffered was not enough to move the Philippine government," said Romel Bagares, legal counsel for the Malaya Lolas.

"Since it's the state that violated the rights of its own citizens, there's an obligation to pay reparations and that can be done by an act of Congress to institute on a systematic basis the recommendations made by the committee," Bagares added.

He noted that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. can issue an executive order to set in motion the study of a national framework for reparations or ask Congress to pass a law similar to the reparation for martial law victims.

The Malaya Lolas' legal counsel also called on different comfort women groups in the country to work together to press the government to implement the decision without questions or delays.

The UN CEDAW decision - released on International Women's Day - also recommended that the Philippines preserve the site of Bahay na Pula, known to be the Japanese headquarters in Pampanga, or establish another space to commemorate the suffering of the victims and honor their struggle for justice, and embrace a sensitive understanding of human rights violations endured by these women and prevent its recurrence through the educational system's institutions and curricula.