Ending impunity for perpetrators of crimes of sexual violence: victims’ rights of access to justice must be implemented

Press release

FIDH, APRODEH, DEMUS and CLADEM-Peru welcome the recent adoption by the UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW Committee), of its Concluding Comments on Peru.

On 19 January 2007, the CEDAW Committee experts examined the report submitted by Peru on the implementation of its obligations under the CEDAW Convention. Representatives from APRODEH, FIDH, DEMUS and CLADEM-Peru presented information on some key issues of concern in relation to women’s rights and discrimination in Peru, focusing on the rights to justice and reparation of women victims of gender violence during the armed conflict between 1980-2000, the right to reproductive and sexual health, and the situation of women human rights defenders. The concluding comments issued by the CEDAW Committee largely reflect these concerns.

"We consider that it is of the utmost importance to ensure that crimes of violence against women, committed during the conflict are investigated and prosecuted, so that victims can finally see their rights to truth, justice and reparation fulfilled. It is also vital that the many victims of these crimes receive adequate assistance," said Liliana Panizo of APRODEH. "We strongly welcome the comments of the CEDAW Committee in this regard".

The CEDAW Committee expressed concern that only rape is recognized as violence against women, and urged Peru to extend the definition to include, in particular, sexual slavery, forced pregnancy, forced prostitution, forced union and forced domestic labour.
The Committee highlighted the need to provide assistance to the women victims of violence during the armed conflict, and called for the investigation and prosecution of all acts of violence committed against women and for individual reparations to be provided to the women who experienced various forms of violence.

More generally, the Committee expressed concern that women’s access to justice is limited, "in particular because of women’s lack of information on their rights, lack of legal aid, the insufficient understanding of the Convention by the judiciary, and the lengthy legal processes which are not understood by women". The Committee urged Peru to "eliminate impediments women may face in accessing justice and to enhance women’s legal literacy, awareness of their rights and capacity to effectively claim them".

In relation to sexual and reproductive rights, the CEDAW Committee stressed that they are inadequately recognized and protected in Peru.

The Committee expressed its concern that "illegal abortion remains one of the leading causes of the high maternal mortality rate" and urged Peru to review its "restrictive interpretation of therapeutic abortion, which ...may further lead women to seek unsafe and illegal abortions".

The Committee urged Peru "to provide women with access to quality services for the management of complications arising from unsafe abortions so as to reduce women’s maternal mortality rates", and to "consider reviewing the law relating to abortion for unwanted pregnancies with a view to removing punitive provisions imposed on women who undergo abortion".

The Committee further urged Peru to increase the provision of family planning information and services to women and girls, including emergency contraception, and to promote sex education widely.

« We urge Peru to step up compliance with the recommendations issued by the CEDAW Committee and to ensure that the Concluding Comments are disseminated to all relevant ministries and to Parliament, as well as to the general public, so as to ensure, in law and in practice, equality between women and men", said Sidiki Kaba, President of FIDH.

Link to the joint alternative report "Justice and Reparation Free of Discrimination" - sexual health and sexual violence during the armed conflict

Link to the CEDAW Committee’s Concluding Comments on Peru

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