PHILIPPINES: Rights Group Backs Filipino Sex Slaves' Redress Bid

Wednesday, November 17, 2010
The Japan Times Online
South Eastern Asia
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Human Rights
Sexual and Gender-Based Violence

An international human rights group expressed support Tuesday for Filipino women demanding an official apology from Tokyo for the sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of the Japanese military during World War II.

James Ross, legal and policy director of New York-based Human Rights Watch, said his group "certainly supports" the so-called comfort women's demand for reparations. "We do feel that people who have been victims of human rights violations, whenever they've occurred, should have a right to redress," Ross said in an interview.

"I say that as a general matter," he added, noting that Human Rights Watch has not specifically tackled the case of the Filipino comfort women.

The Malaya Lola, an organization of World War II sex slaves in the Philippines, is seeking an official apology from Japan, having rejected compensation from the Asia Women's Fund created by the Japanese government in 1995.

Last week, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III said his administration will seek a compromise on the issue, noting both the "very good relations" now between Manila and Tokyo, and the rights of the victims to get "their dignity back."