Rights Activist say Women Still not a Strong Part of Peace Deals in Colombia

Columbian women

While  the United Nations appreciated Colombia for putting an unprecedented focus on women’s rights and keeping their problems and issues that arose as a result of the 50 years long war in the centre, a recent study by a Colombian Rights Group called GPaz claims otherwise.

The war that had been going on in Colombia created quite a ruckus in the country with the severe loss of human resources. But the deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels came to an end recently as the group is handing over the last of their weapons next week. This has sparked concern among leading rights activist who believes that there is not enough women’s participation in the peace deal signed last year by the government and the fighters.

The peace deal included talks of female peace negotiators from both sides and a gender commission to ensure women’s voice were heard. But the reality strikes to be different from what was talked.

As of now, 11 committees have been constituted to monitor and ensure what was pledged in the accord, is put into action. However, there are only six women out of a total of 45 people appointed — or 13.3 per cent — on the peace monitoring committees.

“The accord states the need for the effective and balanced participation of women,” said Beatriz Quintero, head of the National Women’s Network, composed of rights groups across Colombia.

“We’re saying the committees don’t have to have absolute gender parity, be precisely 50-50, but 13 per cent women’s participation is very low,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

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“We’re calling on both sides to ensure that during the accord’s implementation the gender focus isn’t lost,” she said.

The government has voiced that more women will be appointed to the committee by the end of June.

“We reaffirm the importance of further strengthening scenarios for the participation of women in the country and a real commitment to mainstreaming the gender approach in the implementation of the final accord,” the office of the government’s high peace commission said in a statement, reported New Delhi Times.

The Colombian peace accord has pledged to improve access to land for women farmers through a land bank and subsidies. It has also announced to investigate military forces or rebel fighters who raped women. The recent tally has resulted that about 20,000 Colombians, most of them women and girls, have been victims of rape and sexual violence.

Picture credit – BBC