The UN reproaches Spain for reducing sentences due to the ‘only yes is yes’ law that could have been avoided

The UN special rapporteur on violence against women, Reem Al Salem, reproaches the failures of the law of “only yes is yes” and calls for more protection for victims of sexual violence. The United Nations independent expert believes that the reduction in sentences could have been avoided if more attention had been paid to the voices of the various stakeholders.

Thus, after acknowledging that there is no longer any possibility of rectification, it asks the Government to monitor the real impact of the early release of the rapists on the lives of the victims and that provides them with protection.

Al Salem indicated this Tuesday that “although there is no going back, it is now crucial that the Spanish government and its institutions monitor the real impact of the early release of the perpetrators of violence on the lives of the victims.” The objective, as she explained, is to “try to minimize re-victimization” and “guarantee the protection” of these women who have suffered sexual violence.

Through a statement, the UN collects the figures from the General Council of the Judiciary, as of April 12, 2023, which determine that 943 out of 4,000 perpetrators of sexual violence who were serving prison sentences have seen their sentences reduced after the approval of this law.

He has also highlighted the “commendable” attitude of the Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, “publicly apologizing” for this situation and the reform of the text approved last April to “restore the levels of punishment” existing before the ‘yes is yes’.

In addition, the Special Rapporteur is concerned that the law “has not been accompanied by resources to guarantee its correct application” and that the threshold of whether or not there was consent can be used as the burden of proof. In his opinion, “for a country with a high rate of femicide, reducing the sentences of those guilty of perpetrating acts of sexual violence sends the wrong message about the State’s priorities.”

Al Salem warns that “the unfortunate consequence of the law could have been avoided if more attention had been paid to the voices of the various stakeholders who had warned against this obstructive consequence, such as those expressed by civil society organizations, politicians and the General Council of the Judiciary” and believes that on issues with “far-reaching implications” such as this “more time should have been allowed for consultations”.

In addition, it has recommended that the law include “a clearer description of the word gender” or “more in line with international human rights standards, and a clearer distinction in law between the terms ‘sex’ and ‘gender’.”

Source: Lasexta

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