New report on sexual violence and women’s role in the Colombian peace process
Posted by Dana Brown on December 2, 2013 at 4:14pm in Peace, Conflict and Development Research
Women’s inclusion strengthens peace process and search for justice in Colombia
The US Office on Colombia, ABColombia and Sisma Mujer are proud to release a new report, Colombia: Women, Conflict-related Sexual Violence and the Peace Pro…. This report finds that only 18 per cent of women report sexual violence in Colombia, meaning that the magnitude of conflict-relates sexual violence is far from being fully understood. Furthermore, the rate of impunity for sexual-related crimes is more than 98 per cent. Yet despite these obstacles and at considerable personal cost, Colombian women are speaking out and demanding rights to truth, justice and reparation and guarantees of non-repetition. After decades of concerted efforts, these issues are finally gaining ground in Colombia. Earlier this month, thousands of women marched on the streets of Bogotá to support the peace negotiations and demand women’s full participation, supported by networks around the world. That same week, President Santos announced the participation of women in the government’s negotiating team. Though, as we show in a recent article, there is still a lot to be done to ensure guarantees of full participation for women in the peace process-both in Havana and in Colombia.
This latest report affirms that ending the almost total impunity for sexual violence crimes will go a long way to contribute to the potential success of a peace process. Until the legacy of impunity is undermined and guarantees of non-repetition are effectively implemented, women and other victims are not safe to speak out about the crimes they suffer or witness. “Sexual violence is a systematic practice utilized by all actors of the conflict in Colombia to achieve military objectives, silence dissent and impose social and territorial control. We hope that the US government will send a strong message to its Colombian counterparts that it supports putting women’s leadership at the center of all efforts to resolve conflict and promote peace in accordance with UNSCR 2122, in hopes of ending this terrible practice,” says Dana Brown, USOC’s Executive Director.