Comprehensive Reparations Needed for Survivors of Sexual Violence

The United Nations Human Rights Council held a day-long panel discussion in June about the importance of reparations for women survivors of sexual violence. Navi Pillay, the UN Human Rights Commissioner for Human Rights, stated, "The Council, through its mechanisms…. should engage and advocate for increased commitment and leadership to ensure prompt, adequate, and effective reparation for women who had been subjected to violence."

Reparations constitute a significant element of the justice process, which includes prosecution and reconciliation. Reparations are not purely monetary, but have various components:

Restitution: such as legal rights, citizenship, property;

Compensation: for "quantifiable damage" due to physical or mental harm due to a crime;

Rehabilitation: including medical care, social and legal services;

Guarantees: that the crime will not be repeated as well as the acknowledgement of the truth.

Panelists at the discussion, who included Campaign Advisory Committee member Patricia Guerrero, underlined that reparations for survivors of sexual violence had to have a "transformative potential" and have to be culturally appropriate.

Guerrero, representing Colombia's Liga de Mujeres Desplazadas, spoke about the implications of the "Cotton Fields" judgement by the Inter-American Court for Human Rights. In 2009, the Court found that Mexico had violated its obligations under human rights conventions, in a case filed on behalf of murdered Mexican women. Explaining that the judgement was a significant stride forward, not only for the fact that Mexico set up a reparation fund for women survivors of violence, but Guerrero explained that the ruling itself was part of the reparation process for all Latin American women as it reaffirmed women's rights and that states would be held accountable for violence against women.

The international community has established numerous funds to assist with the costs of reparations for survivors of violence, including survivors of sexual violence. The International Criminal Court Trust Fund for Victims was established as part of the Rome Statute, and provides general assistance in the form of projects in areas where the Court has a mandate. The Trust Fund for Victims also provides compensation when directed by the Court. Countries that donate to the Fund can earmark their donation to go into a special pool that has been dedicated to survivors of sexual violence.

Support Fatou

Send a letter or email to your Head of State asking your country to Support Fatou: provide the new Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, with a mandate for effective gender justice! Tell your Head of State you want your country to donate to the ICC Trust Fund for Victims earmarked pool for victims of sexual and/or gender-based violence.

If your country is not part of the ICC, ask your Head of State to ratify the Rome Statue. Find out more information here.

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The International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict
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