CHR: Duterte violated Magna Carta of Women over rape joke

Katerina Francisco

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CHR: Duterte violated Magna Carta of Women over rape joke
The CHR also urges the Civil Service Commission and the interior department to 'consider taking appropriate measures' against the Davao City mayor

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said president-elect Rodrigo Duterte violated the Magna Carta of Women when he made a controversial statement regarding a murdered Australian rape victim in April.

The CHR on Wednesday, May 25, released its resolution on the complaint filed by women leaders against the Davao City mayor.

It also urged the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government to “consider taking appropriate measures” for Duterte’s violation of the law.

The president-elect drew public outrage when he recounted his reaction to the brutal gang rape and murder of an Australian missionary in Davao City back in 1989, at a campaign rally in April.

Duterte had said that he was angered that the victim was raped, but then said that she was “so beautiful, the mayor should have been first.”

Despite a public apology issued by his party, Duterte has refused to apologize for his words, saying that was how he talked. (READ: The story behind Rodrigo Duterte’s ‘apology’

The CHR said it found Duterte’s words and actions to be “discriminatory of women.”

CHR chairperson Chito Gascon also noted that the commission’s constitutional duty is to protect human rights and to “call out persons when these rights are violated no matter what their position in society may be.”

“The Commission believes that this mandate does not exculpate Mayor Duterte from acts committed or words uttered in the course of the electoral campaign when it involves breaches to fundamental rights, in this case, the prohibition of gender-based discrimination and violence,” Gascon said.

Preventive measures

In its resolution, the commission also listed its recommendations to further strengthen the protection of women’s rights.

The CHR urged Congress to revisit the Magna Carta and amend the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act to require all employers to conduct annual gender sensitivity seminars for its employees.

The Commission on Elections should also institute a code of conduct for candidates for public office “to adhere to gender-sensitive language and conduct during campaigns,” the CHR said.

To “foster a culture of respect for the rights of women,” the CHR said gender sensitivity education should be incorporated in the school curricula and programs of the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education.

The CHR also asked the CSC to study the passage of a resolution that would require all government officials to undergo yearly gender sensitivity seminars.

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