We are excited to invite you to join us online from February 1 - 5 as the Campaign—led by Nobel Laureates Jody Williams and Shirin Ebadi and including Survivors United for Action members Jineth Bedoya Lima and Hania Moheeb—travels to Colombia!
We will meet with women survivors of sexual violence and Campaign members advocating tirelessly for survivor-centred support and justice. Follow along with us on Facebook and Twitter using hashtag #SurvivorsUnited, and our blog as the delegation witnesses powerful women-led initiatives working to bring an end to sexual violence in Colombia.
For over 50 years Colombia has been engaged in a low-intensity civil war. The conflict has left over 220,000 Colombians dead—80% of whom are civilians. Over 7 million Colombians have registered as victims of the conflict. As a result of the conflict, Colombia also has one of the highest internal displacement numbers in the world.
There is significant evidence of systematic violence against the women of Colombia. Gender violence is perpetrated by all warring parties, including guerilla groups, paramilitary forces, and the state security forces. Women human rights defenders often become targets—threatened with rape for their activities. In cases of forced displacement, guerillas and paramilitaries use rape and gender violence against women land rights activists struggling to reclaim their communities.
In November 2012 formal peace negotiations began between the government of Colombia and leading rebel group, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)—the first opportunity in over a decade to restore peace to the country. Delegations of victims traveled to La Havana to give testimony to the horrors of the conflict. Women were included in large numbers on each delegation, including victims of sexual violence and sexual torture.
In the face of incredible challenges, the women of Colombia are working on the frontlines to support survivors of sexual violence and bring peace to their communities. Women-led grassroots organizations and national organizations have launched a number of powerful and creative initiatives to address the specific needs of women impacted by the conflict.
Join us as we hear the stories of Colombian women working to end sexual violence in conflict!