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‘Sex strike’ for peace in Philippine village – UNHCR

Protesters shout slogans while clenching their fists during a rally from across the U.S. Embassy in Manila, Philippines Thursday Sept.15, 2011 to mark the 20th anniversary of the Philippine Senate vote terminating the U.S. military bases agreement in the country. The protesters lamented the continued presence of U.S. troops in the country, despite the bases' termination, through another agreement entered into by U.S. and Philippine militaries known as the Visiting Forces Agreement or VFA. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

MANILA, September 16, 2011 (AFP) – Women in the southern Philippines brought peace to their strife-torn village by threatening to withhold sex if their men kept fighting, the UN refugee agency reported Friday.

The “sex strike” in rural Dado village on the often lawless southern island of Mindanao in July helped end tensions and bring some prosperity to the 102 families living there, said UNHCR national officer Rico Salcedo.

“The area is in a town which is subject to conflict, family feuds, land disputes. The idea came personally from the women,” Salcedo told AFP.

The idea was conceived by a group of women who had set up a sewing business but found that they could not deliver their products because the village road was closed by the threat of violence, Salcedo said.

Sporadic shooting incidents between men in the village had occurred especially near the road, the UNHCR said.

“There had been a string of clan conflicts. You would have a number of men who would go against another family. There were scattered incidents of shooting at each other,” said UNHCR staffer Tom Temprosa.

The sewing group’s leader, Hasna Kandatu, said they warned their husbands they would be cut off from sex if they continued causing trouble.

“If you go there (to fight), you won’t be able to come back. I won’t accept you,” Kandatu recalled telling her husband, in a video on the UNHCR website.

Her husband, Lengs Kupong, recalled his wife telling him: “If you do bad things, you will be cut off, here,” he said, motioning below his waist.

Feuds between Muslim clans over land, money or political influence have been a major source of violence in the southern Philippines, helping fuel a Muslim separatist insurgency and brutal crimes, rights groups and scholars have said.

In the worst case of such feuds, members of an influential Muslim clan are being tried for allegedly murdering 57 people in the south in 2009 to keep a rival family from challenging them in local elections.

 

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