The information below is based on the Report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council (S/2019/280) issued on 29 March 2019.
After more than five decades of conflict, the Government of Colombia and the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia-Ejército del Pueblo (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia–People’s Army) (FARC–EP) signed the Final Agreement for Ending the Conflict and Building a Stable and Lasting Peace (S/2017/272, annex II) in 2016. As noted in my previous report (S/2018/250), the Agreement included 100 provisions on gender equality and women’s human rights, several of which address conflict-related sexual violence, although the implementation of those provisions has been limited. Research indicates that only 4 per cent of those gender provisions had been implemented by mid-2018. The implementation of the gender provisions was limited in former conflict areas, where insecurity has increased. In my report to the Security Council on the United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia, in December 2018 (S/2018/1159), I expressed particular concern about the continued attacks against Colombian social leaders and human rights defenders in some of those areas. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights reported that amid a total of 454 cases reported, 163 killings of social leaders and human rights defenders, many of them women, had been verified by the end of 2018. Further efforts are required to strengthen security guarantees for women human rights defenders and LGBTI leaders, increase gender-responsive reintegration processes and ensure women’s participation in the comprehensive rural reform, as well as their participation in the design of the implementation of the Agreement.
Despite the overall reduction in violence associated with armed conflict, including in the number of incidents of sexual violence, the persistence of violence in several areas is of concern. In 2018, the National Victims Unit registered 97,916 victims of the armed conflict, of whom 254 were victims of sexual violence. Among those were 232 female victims, including 18 girls (ranging from 0 to 17 years of age), 214 women (209 women ranging from 18 to 60 years of age; and 5 women ranging from 61 and 100 years of age); 14 men; 3 LGBTI persons; 5 unknown. Furthermore, two cases of sexual violence against girls were documented (one against an indigenous girl), which were reportedly perpetrated by a dissident group of FARC– EP and a post-demobilization armed group.
Access to justice and health care for victims of sexual violence continued to be a challenge, in particular for women and LGBTI persons and in rural areas, where many indigenous communities and ethnic minorities reside. Remarkably, the Office of the Ombudsperson assisted 176 victims of conflict-related sexual violence. With United Nations support, the Ministry of the Interior approved a policy for LGBTI persons, including services for victims of armed conflict and a humanitarian protocol regarding access to health care for transgender victims.
An important and positive development in relation to the Agreement was the creation of the Comprehensive System of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-Repetition. The United Nations supported the gender-sensitive selection of the S/2019/280 19-04552 11/35 members of the Comprehensive System, as well as of members of the gender-specialized group of the Commission on Truth, Coexistence and Non-Repetition and members of the Gender Commission of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace. The special body, comprising women representatives, for monitoring the gender approach in the implementation of the Agreement continues to communicate with public institutions and women’s networks.
I urge the Government of Colombia to expedite the full implementation of all action plans to address violence in former conflict areas, in particular those plans related to assisting victims of sexual violence and to ensuring their access to reparations. I urge the Government to prioritize the investigation and prosecution of cases of conflict-related sexual violence and to allocate adequate resources to improve institutional capacity. I further urge the Government to implement protection measures for victims of sexual violence.