Investigate reports of sexual harassment, protect women from domestic violence amidst quarantine

Amnesty International Philippines

Media Quote

27 March 2020

Responding to reports of sexual harassment committed by law enforcers and domestic violence during the enhanced community quarantine in the Philippines, Section Director Butch Olano said:

“Reports of domestic violence and of sexual harassment at checkpoints in quarantined areas being perpetrated by police and military officers, as well as by local barangay officials, are particularly alarming and unacceptable.

“Amnesty International Philippines urgently calls on the government to investigate the reports and ensure that local governments take immediate action to protect women from discrimination and violence, especially during community quarantine. Those who will be found guilty must be held accountable.

“The government should also include a gendered analysis of the impact of the enhanced community quarantine on women, girls and gender non-conforming people, and ensure measures of protection and support are included in all responses addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and in the national action plan. This involves identifying threats to their health, physical and online safety, and other human rights, and having clear mitigating measures. For example, women face high risk of exposure to illnesses due to their disproportionate amount of care-giving responsibilities, both in the home and as workers in the frontlines of the response.


On 26 March, an article was released about a woman harassed by a law enforcement personnel at a quarantine checkpoint in Makati City.

On 27 March, UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, Dubravka Simonovic, said in a statement that it is very likely that rates of widespread domestic violence will increase and worsen considerably in cases of isolation such as the lockdowns imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Further calling all states to make significant efforts to address the COVID -19  threat without leaving behind women and children victims of domestic violence.