Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission: ASIA: No end to violence against women without access to justice

Incidences of violence against women are not isolated or sporadic, but a daily occurrence in Asian countries. While women are subjected to various forms of violence in private and public domains, such as sexual assault, rape and acid throwing, the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) wishes to draw attention to the increasing tendency of violations perpetrated by state agents, mostly the police and military, in the form of torture, rape, extrajudicial killing and being used as sex slaves in military torture cells.

From social and cultural norms to ineffective legal procedures, women are thwarted at every turn as they attempt to complain against their abuse, seek punishment of those responsible and improve their own circumstances. While the denial of justice is a fundamental human rights violation, it is also key in perpetuating the cycle of violence, as the perpetrators remain free to continue their abusive and illegal behaviour.

Supporting all women confronting the denial of justice, the AHRC urges states to improve their complaint making procedures and available remedies.

Complaint making procedure

Registering a complaint is the first step in speaking out against any abuse suffered by women and addressing it. Without any complaint being made, little can be done. State agencies and complaint receiving bodies are generally not conducive to registering complaints of abuse against fellow officials, or against wealthy and influential individuals. Their attitude towards women also makes them indifferent to their complaints. Furthermore, the corruption prevalent within policing institutions throughout Asia makes the police an easy target for perpetrators of violence to bribe and silence. Meanwhile, those bodies specifically meant to receive complaints from women, such as women’s commissions, tend to have limited resources, budgets and authority, which are obstacles in carrying out their functions effectively. For instance, Indonesia’s National Commission on Violence Against Women, is often not able to conduct its own investigations, or, at best, may conduct investigations and make recommendations to other state institutions for further action. However, law enforcement bodies do not always take up its recommendations. Similarly, the Commission for Women in India receives a large number of complaints and conducts its own investigations, but these, along with its recommendations, are often ignored by India’s law enforcement bodies.  Continue reading “Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission: ASIA: No end to violence against women without access to justice”