VI. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
237. Through this report, the IACHR conveys and reiterates its grave concern over the suffering of Colombian women due to the violence and discrimination worsened by the armed conflict and the importance of considering their specific needs in the public response to the problem. Under the current circumstances, Colombian women and girls affected by the armed conflict cannot enjoy or exercise their rights set forth in the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women, in the American Convention on Human Rights, and in other international instruments protecting human rights.
238. The IACHR reaffirms its commitment to collaborate with the Colombian State in seeking solutions to the problems identified. Some steps adopted to address this situation display an understanding of the gravity of the existing problems and the commitment of the State and non-State sectors in considering the specific needs of women in public policies designed to sanction, prevent and eradicate acts of violence and discrimination against women and to understand the gravity of the problems.
239. As the IACHR has stated in the past, the problem of violence in Colombia is lengthy and extremely complex, requiring comprehensive solutions that cannot be postponed and this applies to the specific situation of women. Pursuant to its obligations under international law, the Colombian State is obligated to act with due diligence to prevent, punish and eradicate the violence and discrimination against women, worsened by the armed conflict, even when the conflict poses structural challenges to this response.
240. The recommendations issued in the report are geared towards the design of an integral State policy that takes into account the manifestations of discrimination and violence affecting women that are aggravated by the armed conflict, in order to make progress in the diagnosis, prevention and response to these problems, and in the incorporation of women’s specific needs into the public agenda. They are also intended to motivate the State to implement measures to eradicate discriminatory socio-cultural patterns based on sex, race, ethnicity and social class and to account for these differences in the development of public policies to mitigate the pernicious effect of the armed conflict on Colombian women throughout the national territory. The recommendations formulated herein are of a dual nature: general recommendations and recommendations by category of attention and response, covering legislation, public policies, State institutions and programs, diagnosis and prevention, public services for displaced women, administration of justice, civic and political participation, and truth, justice and reparations.
241. The IACHR wishes to especially recognize the extraordinary efforts by Colombian women to cope with the adversity of the internal armed conflict. It also highlights their work against the discrimination, exclusion and violence and to achieve full enjoyment of all their human rights. This capacity to associate and make an impact has achieved major legal developments and promoted the adoption of progressive policies and institutions for women in Colombia. Colombian women are not only victims of structural discrimination and violence, which is exacerbated by the internal armed conflict, they are also the bearers of initiatives of inclusion, democratization and authentic peace-making for the Colombian State and society.
1. To adopt an integral State policy to address the specific impact of the armed conflict on women in the areas of justice, health and education, among others. These policies should be guided by the logic of protecting the rights of women and should tend to guarantee their autonomy.
2. To implement and strengthen measures to comply with the duty to act with due diligence to prevent, sanction and eradicate violence and discrimination against women, exacerbated by the armed conflict, including concrete efforts to fulfill its four obligations: prevention, investigation, sanction and reparation of the human rights violations of women.
3. To implement measures to eradicate discriminatory socio-cultural patterns based on sex, race, and ethnic background, and to take these differences and conditions of vulnerability into account in the development of public policies to mitigate the pernicious effect of the armed conflict on Colombian women.
4. To publicly recognize that the different manifestations of gender-based violence and discrimination are closely related to the human rights and humanitarian crisis that Colombia is facing, that they are serious violations of international and national law, and that it is necessary to assign adequate State resources to achieve their prevention, eradication and sanction.
5. To duly apply the recommendations previously issued by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and United Nations follow-up mechanisms, such as the United Nations Rapporteurs, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, the Committee Against Torture, the Human Rights Committee, and the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Legislation, public policies, State institutions and programs
6. To adequately enforce the national legislation and the existing public policies designed to protect women from acts of violence and discrimination and their consequences in civil, political, economic, social and health matters, and to allocate sufficient resources to make this enforcement effective at the national and local level.
7. To incorporate the voices and specific needs of women affected by the armed conflict and the organizations representing them in the design of legislation and public policies geared toward ameliorating the impact of the consequences of the armed conflict on them.
8. To adopt and amend existing legislation in order to ensure compliance with decisions and recommendations by supra-national bodies designed to protect the rights of women within the internal armed conflict.
9. To implement dissemination measures and campaigns for the general public regarding the duty to respect the civil, political, economic, social, cultural, sexual and reproductive rights of women; the available services and resources for women who have experienced violations of their rights; and the judicial consequences for perpetrators.
10. To identify and institutionalize new forms of capacity-building for public servants in all sectors (justice, security, health and education) with an integral approach that addresses the right of women to live free from violence and discrimination, and to respect their physical and psychological well-being when they receive public services.
11. To identify and create indicators and inter-institutional monitoring systems on the implementation of legislation and policies destined to mitigate the impact of the armed conflict on Colombian women.
12. To create coordination and communication mechanisms among national and local programs and services for women who are victims of violence and discrimination aggravated by the armed conflict. These mechanisms must favor coordination among all programs at the national level and among programs implemented on the national and local levels.
13. To strengthen and institutionalize the work of the Presidential Office on Gender Equality as the coordinating entity for public policies for women, with adequate financial and human resources.
14. To implement a greater number of State resources allocated to entities responsible for providing services and implementing programs to mitigate the effects of the armed conflict on women.
15. To implement measures to address the violence and discrimination suffered by women in zones occupied by the actors of the armed conflict.
16. To set up inter-institutional teams to determine the exact dimension of the problem and identify comprehensive strategies to address it in these zones.
17. To create spaces where inter-institutional dialogue and greater collaboration can occur to mitigate the effects of the armed conflict on women.
18. To design public policies in the area of citizen protection which incorporate the specific needs of women.
19. To adopt the steps required to complete the ratification and implementation of the Protocol of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
Assessment and Prevention
20. To create and improve statistical and qualitative information systems and records on incidents of violence and discrimination against women.
21. To create mechanisms to achieve uniformity among these information systems.
22. To implement measures in order for these information systems to adequately reflect the national and local situation, including incidents of violence and discrimination taking place in zones occupied by the actors of the armed conflict.
23. To adopt measures in order for these and future programs to disaggregate information by sex, age, race, ethnic group among other factors.
24. To maintain reliable and updated statistics including the armed actors as possible aggressors.
25. To incorporate problems such as sexual violence, already reflected in existing official statistics, in the design of public policies destined to mitigate the effects of the armed conflict on women.
26. To promote that the information collected by State entities about incidents of violence and discrimination is processed with a gender perspective.
27. To launch the design of a single questionnaire to collect information about incidents of violence and discrimination that can be used by all sectors – government, administration of justice, health, international agencies, the academic sector and civil society – among others, and to promote pilot experiences to evaluate its effectiveness.
Public Services for Displaced Women
28. To design and implement a policy including positive actions to recognize and make effective the rights of women in terms of an integral and multidisciplinary attention and support in the areas of health, justice, education and economy of the displaced women, that adequately address their needs in the short and long-term.
29. To address in public policies and State programs, the specific needs of displaced women and their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. Especially, to adopt measures to guarantee the protection of their sexual and reproductive rights.
30. To effectively implement the principles included in the Sentence of the Constitutional Court T-025 in regards to the participation of women in the formulation of public policies and the adoption of an adequate level of protection of the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of displaced women heads of household, in the short and long-term. Furthermore, to adopt the necessary measures to give participation to organizations of women in the periodic follow-up of this Sentence.
31. To design impact indicators to measure the effectiveness and scope of State support measures and services to mitigate the impact of forced displacement on women of different races, ethnic backgrounds and ages.
32. To strengthen official statistics collection systems on the displaced population and to disaggregate information by race, ethnicity, and sex, among other conditions of vulnerability.
33. To create the conditions and eliminate bureaucratic, inefficient obstacles in order to facilitate the access of displaced women to the registry and the national health system. To create effective safety measures so that women can register and obtain health-care services.
34. To adopt measures to ensure that State entities, particularly those providing services to displaced women, respect and protect their rights and health needs, including those within the sphere of reproductive health, and adequate services and information are granted.
35. In the sphere of access to education, to grant school spaces and offer technical training programs for women and girl children who are displaced so that they can have more opportunities to re-establish themselves socio-economically after the displacement.
36. To develop training programs so that indigenous and Afro-Colombian women can offer psycho-social support to displacement victims belonging to their same race and ethnic groups.
Afro-Colombian and Indigenous Women
37. To design and adopt policies taking into account the specific needs of indigenous and Afro-Colombian women within the armed conflict in regard to health, education, justice and livelihoods. National policies designed to promote the rights of all women must consider the specific needs of indigenous and Afro-Colombian women and have an integral vision of how to address important issues such as health, education, and justice. National policies geared toward improving the situation of indigenous and Afro-Colombian groups must also include the specific needs of women.
38. To reinforce the social investment in indigenous and Afro-Colombian women in the justice, health and education sectors to mitigate the effects of the armed conflict and to render effective the rights of displaced women and heads of household.
39. To adopt measures and dissemination campaigns targeting indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities, the State and society at large, regarding the problems that these women confront, especially displaced women, in order to generate action commitments to solve them and achieve complete respect for their human rights.
40. To develop initiatives to collect information, statistics, research and studies reflecting the specific situation of indigenous and Afro-Colombian women that will provide the foundation to develop public policies geared toward prevention, punishment and eradication of acts of violence and discrimination perpetrated against them.
41. To design and adopt culturally relevant policies, with the participation of indigenous and Afro-Colombian women, to protect displaced women from these groups.
42. To design and adopt policies, with the participation of indigenous and Afro-Colombian women, considering respect for their culture, with the purpose of ameliorating the effects of the armed conflict. In particular, to carry out actions to reduce the negative effects in terms of health, education, and justice caused by the armed conflict.
43. To create mechanisms and spaces to strengthen the leadership, organization and citizen participation of indigenous and Afro-Colombian women in order to incorporate their role and voice in decision-making, according to their own culture and traditions.
44. To achieve the full respect of the rights of indigenous women to live free from violence, discrimination and the forced displacement worsened by the armed conflict, it is essential for the State to respect and protect effectively the ancestral lands of their peoples, from both military and economic interests.
45. To design and implement policies to promote and protect the human rights of indigenous women, including special directives for the armed forces and the National Police in order to facilitate the respect of their right to live free from sexual violence and other forms of discrimination.
Administration of Justice
46. To design an integral, coordinated State policy, supported by adequate public resources, to guarantee that victims of violence and discrimination adequately access justice and that acts of violence are adequately investigated, sanctioned and repaired.
47. To adopt the necessary measures to prevent, sanction and eradicate acts of rape, sexual abuse and other forms of violence, torture and inhumane treatment by all combatants in the armed conflict.
48. To ensure that due diligence is exercised to guarantee that gender-based violence cases are promptly, completely and impartially investigated, those responsible are adequately punished and victims receive reparations.
49. To strengthen the institutional capacity to confront the pattern of impunity for cases of violence against women through effective criminal investigations, with consistent judicial follow-up, in order to guarantee adequate sanction and reparations.
50. To implement measures to reinforce the resources and capacity for investigation processes, in order for violations of human rights with gender-specific causes and their consequences to be investigated and sanctioned according to their gravity.
51. To increase access to legal representation free of charge for victims of violence and discrimination against women.
52. To prepare and disseminate information to ensure that victims of violence and discrimination against women know their rights within the judicial system.
53. To gather and systematize decisions by regional and international bodies designed to protect the rights of women and to make this information accessible to public officials at the national and local level.
54. To adopt effective guarantees to facilitate that victims denounce acts of violence, such as the adoption of effective measures to protect those filing complaints, survivors and witnesses.
55. To adopt immediate measures to guarantee effective training in women’s rights for officials responsible for processing crimes, administering justice and supervising the actions of public officials, in order for them to adequately apply national and international norms to bring sexual crimes to justice.
56. To create conditions so that the INML continues training and increasing the awareness of judicial authorities who handle cases of different types of violence so they can adequately and thoroughly evaluate all available evidence in resolving cases of sexual violence, including the legal-medical examination, physical and psychological findings, and laboratory tests, among others. It is important to encourage the multi-disciplinary investigation of such crimes.
Civic and political participation
57. To apply United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and Security, which requires women to be involved in the decision-making in order to resolve Colombia’s armed conflict and mitigate its consequences. The Colombian State should take this Resolution as a guideline and ensure the right of women to participate in all levels of decision-making related to the conflict and its consequences in their daily lives.
58. To legitimize and effectively protect the work of women’s human rights defenders and their organizations throughout the national territory.
59. To continue implementing measures to increase the participation of women in the country’s social, political and economic life, nationally and locally.
60. To ensure that organizations defending the human rights of women and their members actively participate in formulating programs, services and instruments destined to protect them.
61. To create spaces for coordination and collaboration between non-governmental organizations and State agencies entrusted with providing services to victims of violence.
Truth, justice and reparations
62. To adopt, under the legal framework governing negotiations with the illegal armed groups, measures to guarantee the rights of women who have been victims of violence and discrimination, to truth, justice and reparations. The State must take particular account of the measures set forth by the Convention of Belém do Pará, United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 and the Rome Statute.
63. The State should create spaces for victims to be actively involved in and influence the ways in which their rights to truth, justice and reparations are fulfilled and protected by the State. The enforcement of these rights should reflect the perspective and specific needs of victims and granted in a non- discriminatory fashion.
64. To ensure that the legal framework and the demobilization programs are compatible with the international principles and norms about the rights of victims to truth, justice and reparation and, as such, address the specific needs of women.
65. To guarantee that women directly affected by the conflict and its consequences are incorporated in the decision-making bodies working towards the resolution of the causes and consequences of the conflict.