N° 23/07





Washington, D.C., April 13, 2007. The IACHR presented yesterday, in Colombia, the report Las Mujeres Frente a la Violencia y la Discriminación Derivadas del Conflict Armado en Colombia, which reports that participants in the Colombian armed conflict use physical, sexual, and psychological violence against women as a strategy of war.   The report shows how, in Colombian public discourse, violence against women in the context of the armed conflict is not given a degree of attention commensurate with the gravity and dimension of the problem.  The report also shows that violence against women is not confined to situations of armed conflict but is a reflection of patterns of discrimination against women in Colombian society overall.  These forms of discrimination escalate in the context of the armed conflict. 


Commissioner Dr. Víctor Abramovich, the IACHR Rapporteur on Women’s Rights and Colombia, met with civil society organizations working to defend women’s rights. At that meeting, it was emphasized that the problems identified by the report persist, and participants discussed follow-up on the recommendations. The report’s recommendations also were discussed by Rapporteur Abramovich at a meeting with Congress members representing a broad spectrum within Colombia’s political sector.  They discussed aspects of the legislative agenda related to the report’s recommendations.  The Commission also organized a panel discussion on the recommendations, which was attended by Claudia Ramírez, Subdirector of the nongovernmental organization SISMA Mujer; Clara Inés Vargas, Magistrate of the Constitutional Court of Colombia; Patricia Linares, Special Attorney for Prevention in the Area of Human Rights and Ethnic Affairs; Elenita Motta, National Coordinator of the Haz Paz (Make Peace) Program of the Colombian Family Welfare Institute; and Julián Aguirre, Coordinator of the Displaced Population Assistance Program of the aforementioned.


Some of the principal topics discussed at those meetings were the ongoing escalation of discrimination and violence against women as a consequence of the armed conflict; the need to protect victims and witnesses in the process being conducted under the Justice and Peace Act; the need to take women’s perspectives into account in reparations for human rights violations; the importance of incorporating the specific needs of Colombian women of African descent, indigenous women, and displaced women into the public agenda; and the importance of collaboration by the different sectors of government, civil society, and international organizations to achieve the adoption of integral policies to address the issues described in the report and to improve the justice system’s response to acts of violence and discrimination against women.