The information below is based on the Report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council(S/2020/487) issued on 03 June 2020.

The signature of the Final Agreement for Ending the Conflict and Building a Stable and Lasting Peace between the Government of Colombia and the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia-Ejército del Pueblo (FARC-EP) in 2016, remains a global milestone in the effective integration of gender considerations within a peace agreement and in the meaningful participation of women in conflict resolution. The implementation of the provisions on gender and women’s rights has, however, lagged behind that of other measures (CEDAW/C/COL/CO/9). In 2019, the National Victims’ Unit recorded 107,445 victims of the armed conflict, 365 of whom were victims of conflict-related sexual violence. Women and girls made up 89 per cent of the victims, with 35 men and 3 individuals who identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or intersex also affected. Moreover, 166 victims were Colombians of African descent (143 women, 22 men and 1 who identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or intersex), 15 were from indigenous communities (14 women and 1 man), 28 were persons living with disabilities (23 women, 3 men and 2 individuals who identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or intersex persons). Among the cases, 51 were recorded as having been perpetrated against children (31 girls and 20 boys). The United Nations documented 10 cases of sexual violence in which the alleged perpetrators were members of the Ejército de Liberación Nacional, criminal groups and other violent groups. Members of the military were allegedly involved in three cases. The United Nations documented nine cases of sexual violence in the border areas between the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and Colombia, where transborder armed groups operate.

The Ombudsperson’s early warning system corroborates the correlation between a high concentration of sexual violence and conflict dynamics. In regions such as Antioquia, Chocó, Cauca and Nariño, numerous armed actors such as Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia, criminal groups and dissident groups of FARC-EP, continue to compete for control of territory and local illegal economies. Border areas and transit routes for refugees and migrants are being exploited by illegal armed actors to recruit vulnerable persons, notably indigenous people, into illicit economic activities. In this context, women and girls face heightened risks of human trafficking, including for the purposes of sexual slavery and exploitation. The Office of the Ombudsperson reported 480 threats directed against women leaders and women human rights defenders, including misogynistic insults and threats of sexual violence. Access to justice remains a challenge for survivors of conflict-related sexual violence, particularly in rural areas, despite an increase in the number of formal complaints following institutional efforts to address the issue. The Comprehensive System of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-Repetition continued to make progress. The Special Jurisdiction for Peace decreed that amnesty could not be granted in cases of conflict-related sexual violence, and that investigations related to child recruitment should consider linkages with conflict-related sexual violence. In addition, the Truth Commission has prioritized the collection of testimonies from survivors of wartime sexual violence. The national police has implemented a project to reinforce prevention and response measures in cases of sexual violence in conflict-affected areas, including through the deployment of mobile teams.

Recommendation

I urge the Government to accelerate the implementation of the gender provisions of the peace agreement. I call for the authorities to enhance their capacity to effectively prosecute and deliver reparations for conflict-related sexual violence, including for survivors in rural and border areas, and to continue expanding service coverage to ensure a holistic response, including protection and security guarantees for victims, witnesses and women’s human rights defenders.

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