ICJ welcomes UN appointment of Special Rapporteur on Sexual Slavery

The ICJ welcomes the appointment of a UN Special Rapporteur on sexual slavery, in particular, in times of war.

The appointment was made by consensus last evening at the 45th Session of the UN Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities.

Ms Linda Chavez, a distinguished expert of the UN Sub-Commission, was formally appointed to this task. She will undertake an in-depth study on the situation of systematic rape, sexual slavery and slavery-like practices, in particular, during wartime, including internal armed conflict.

In a statement released today the ICJ said that this nomination is most timely and appropriate, specially since the world continues to bear witness to the on-going atrocities committed on a daily basis against women and the girl-child in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Particularly also, since massive human rights violations committed in the past by Japanese forces against women in Southeast Asia have just been recognized by Japan.

In April 1993 the ICJ conducted a mission to investigate Japanese forced recruitment of so-called ‘Comfort Women” before and during the Second World War. Between 100.000 and 200.000 women from countries in Southeast Asia were compelled to providing sexual “services” to Japanese soldiers during that period. The ICJ raised this issue at the UN Working Group on Slavery in May 1993 and again at the UN Sub-Commission this August. The ICJ welcomed the official statement made by the Government of Japan on 4th August 1993 recognizing its responsibility with respect to the victims. A Final Report on “Comfort Women” is soon to be released by the ICJ.

ICJ Secretary General Adama Dieng said that the international community has an obligation to put pressure on the Government of Japan to ensure that it takes adequate steps to compensate and provide full restitution to the women.

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