In April, two events occurred which produced a powerful opportunity to bring violations of women's human rights to global political attention. First, US Secret Service and military personnel advance teams in Cartagena, Colombia preparing for the President's upcoming visit were caught in a scandal. And second, our Pacific Rim program for women leaders from Japan, Republic of Korea, the Philippines, and the United States, convened in Honolulu, Hawaii. Click here to read about the Multidisciplinary Intellectual Exchange.
This convergence produced the following "demands" from this eminent group of women leaders - including elected officials, academic experts, and civil society leaders.
"We, the participants of the Multidisciplinary Intellectual Exchange for Women Leaders from the United States, Japan, Republic of Korea and the Philippines on migration, trafficking and women's human rights, convened by the Center for Women Policy Studies and its sister organizations, held from April 16th to 19th, 2012 in Honolulu, Hawaii, express our deep concern with the current scandal over the inappropriate conduct of the U.S. Secret Service and U.S. military personnel in Cartagena, Colombia."
Thus did the participants in our Pacific Rim Program begin their letter to the Secretaries of State, Defense, and Homeland Security and to the Chairs and Ranking Members of both House and Senate Committees on Appropriations, Defense, and Armed Services.
While acknowledging and praising the United States for issuing implementation guidelines for UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace, and security, the letter notes that "this is insufficient" to address the crisis brought to light by the Cartagena scandal.
Indeed, the letter notes that the Cartagena scandal "is not an isolated incident" but reflects many decades of similar abuses - and that "throughout these decades and up to this time, we have also witnessed military prostitution which likely has included trafficked women. Women in our countries have experienced violence including murder, rape and sexual assault perpetrated by visiting U.S. military personnel. . . . In Japan, the Republic of Korea and the Philippines, even the gravest cases of abuse have been ignored or suppressed."
The letter therefore "respectfully demands":
*An end to military prostitution - making clear that US military personnel cannot buy sex (in accordance with the US Uniform Code of Military Justice, article 138-34).
*An end to rape and sexual assault perpetrated by US military personnel and a guarantee that cases will be prosecuted to the fullest and to the satisfaction of the victims.
*An end to the abandonment of women and children by US military personnel -- who must acknowledge and financially support the children they have fathered.
*Training of military personnel on women's human rights jointly supervised by the US and the host country - with the cooperation of women's groups.
Please CLICK HERE to support the Pacific Rim women leaders' demands and the Center's work on trafficking and migration.
CLICK HERE to join our Global Honor Roll of Leaders for Women's Human Rights.
The Center’s Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) designation code is #11963.