Ways for Women to Participate in Peacebuilding (Philippines)
Summary of publication
Ways for Women to Participate in Peacebuilding (Philippines) is an Australian Development Research Awards Scheme (ADRAS) research project which was awarded in the last ADRAS round in 2012. The research was carried out by the Australian National University from April 2013 – December 2016. The objective of the project was to explore how plural and hybrid justice mechanisms work to respond to community conflicts in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), in particular violence against women.
The research found that there are more than ten forms of justice mechanisms and venues that serve community needs in Mindanao. Justice providers include state justice mechanisms such as the secular courts and state shari'ah (Islamic) courts, prosecution services and public legal aid services, as well as non-state and community-based traditional or indigenous justice forums, shari'ah adjudication provided by community or insurgent groups, and hybrid mechanisms that combine state and non-state personnel, such as the Agama Arbitration Council and municipal and provincial peace and order councils. Legal hybridity in Mindanao is an outcome of its long history, and ethnic diversity, and has been intensified by conflict. State and non-state, formal and informal justice mechanisms and processes have 'hybridised' to meet the challenges of the continued cycles of conflict and violence. It has emerged from the necessity to provide for individual and community needs – security, continuity of tradition, and provision of basic services. Key messages from the research include:
- Policy makers and development initiatives in the Philippines should recognise and understand the multiple legal systems and justice mechanisms that operate in Mindanao
- When responding to violence against women, the key issue is that gender violence is mostly driven by the persistence of conflict and poverty, which exacerbate social and cultural inequalities
- Family/clan and community based forms of justice are the most trusted in Mindanao and are considered to be the most effective and accessible justice mechanisms
- State mechanisms such as the shari'ah courts, Public Attorney's Office and Fiscal's Office could potentially be developed into more sustainable and responsive hybrid justice institutions in Mindanao