Women’s rights activist-cum-Good Shepherd Centre Director Juliana Devoy left for Geneva on Friday to speak to the United Nations’ Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) about Macau’s penalties for domestic violence on Thursday and Friday, where she will argue that the government’s classification of domestic violence as a semi-public crime is a violation of the International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) enshrined in the Macau Basic Law.
Devoy told reporters upon departure that while the government has submitted its report to the committee on its efforts to curb domestic violence, the report simply emphasised how the government has provided assistance to domestic violence victims without mentioning the penalties perpetrators face.
The sister also said she had seen many victims suffer emotionally and physically due to abuse at the hands of their spouses. She said the situation should be changed and the government should re-classify domestic violence as a public crime where authorities can take the initiative of taking legal action against the alleged culprit. She also voiced optimism that it will be done in the future.
In addition, the Macau Anti-Domestic Violence Coalition, of which Devoy is a member, said in a statement on Friday that the government’s report on tackling domestic violence was not thorough and factual as it missed several points. The statement pointed out that the government did not hold a second round of consultation when drafting the bill on domestic violence prevention while the report said otherwise, adding the fact that over 6,200 people signed a petition to make domestic violence a public crime was not mentioned in the report.
The coalition also argued that victims of domestic violence do not receive enough help, citing as an example the fact that imported workers are unable to receive legal aid.
The concept of a semi-public crime means that only the victim can take the initiative of taking legal action against the suspect.(macaunews/macaupost)