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The Philippines is often seen as a democratic corner of South East Asia and Filipino lawyers are proud of the significant legal and social reforms in their country. Travel further south, however, and progressive politics and formal legal institutional capacity give way to one of the world’s most heavily armed zones: Mindanao.
A comprehensive peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) was intended to create a stable, self-governing sub-region for Muslim Filipinos: the Bangsamoro. Following an upsurge in violence in early 2015, the fragile peace and the legal future of the Bangsamoro are both in question.
This seminar reports results from a multi-year study of legal pluralism and justice mechanisms in Mindanao. It analyses how women experience violence in Mindanao and the range of responses within Mindanao’s complex system of legal pluralism and hybridity.
We then look in more detail at how Islamic justice actors contest the Bangsamoro as a new legal and regulatory space, and how Islamic justice intersects with customary law in the family disputes about marriage, divorce, custody and property.
In both cases, we look at the interactions between state and non-state actors, and the stance of political and legal elites in Manila towards local demands for Islamic identity, equitable treatment of indigenous peoples, and justice in Mindanao.
Imelda Deinla is a postdoctoral fellow at the Regulatory Institutions Network (RegNet) at the Australian National University and Chief Investigator for the DFAT-funded ADRAS project, Pluralist Justice for Women after Violence: An Experiment in Building Justice Webs in the Philippines. She has practised as an attorney and human rights advocate in the Philippines and is fluent in Bisaya, one of the languaes of Mindanao.
Veronica L. Taylor is a Professor at RegNet and Dean of the College of Asia and the Pacific at ANU.