Conflict-Related Sexual Violence: Status, Challenges and Opportunities in Asia

13.30 – 15.30 | 18 September

Room: Ruby

Reparations are crucial to any transitional justice effort. Reparations most directly and explicitly focus on survivors and victims and seek to redress the violations suffered. Although there is a universally recognised right to reparation, few survivors and victims of conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) globally have ever obtained it. CRSV survivors’ and victims’ needs and demands have not been a priority in the policy agendas at the domestic, regional, and international levels. The lack of implementation and the prevailing impunity of perpetrators and accomplices are alarming, with shattering repercussions on survivors and victims who, in some situations, have been waiting for justice and reparations for years.

There is no regional human rights system in Asia, such as the ones in Africa, the Americas, or Europe. There is also no regional human rights treaty. The Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) has made efforts to promote human rights, through the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights, and the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration in 2007, the Declaration of the Advancement of Women and the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women in the ASEAN Region. In 2018, ASEAN presented a draft Declaration on the right to justice and the right to an effective remedy for violations of human rights. There are many situations of current or past conflict in Asian countries, with endemic and widespread CRSV, some part of ASEAN and others not. Even where violations date back decades, in many of these countries little progress has been made towards providing survivors with justice or reparations. Hence, access to reparation for survivors and victims of CRSV in Asia remains a challenge.

The Global Survivors Fund (GSF) and REDRESS wish to propose a presentation session during the Asia Pro Bono Conference on Reparations for Survivors of CRSV in Asia to engage with governments, the judiciary, NGOs, lawyers and legal practitioners and other participants to the session in a discussion on challenges and opportunities at the regional level to ensure reparations and justice for survivors of CRSV. The discussion will be partly based on the findings and recommendations made in Asian country studies conducted by GSF and their partners. A key goal is to identify strategic areas of support to advance the human rights of survivors and victims of CRSV and to highlight the role of pro bono work to bridging the remedies and reparations gap. This touches to the conference themes of “Combating Gender-Based Violence Through Pro Bono and Access to Justice Services”, “Pro Bono Assistance for the Marginalised and Vulnerable”, “Pro Bono and Ageing Population”, “Client-Centred Lawyering Approaches for Legal Service Providers” and “Legal Empowerment and Pro Bono Synergy”.