The International Office for Human Rights Action on Colombia

45 MEPs send letter to President Duque asking for more respect for women’s rights in Colombia

Brussels, 19 April 2022

President of the Republic of Colombia,

Ivan Duque Marquez

Office of the President of the Republic of Colombia,

Casa de Nariño: Carrera 8 No. 7 – 26, Bogotá D.C., Colombia

We are writing to express our concern about the risk situation for women leaders and women human rights defenders in Colombia. These women, their organizations, and the social sectors they represent, are in an extremely vulnerable situation, especially in regions historically affected by the internal armed conflict. We understand that, at present, there is a slowdown in the implementation of the Peace Agreement and a weakening of peace policies, thereby aggravating   the humanitarian crisis in the country and increasing obstacles for victims to access truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-repetition.

Access to justice is of particular importance for victims of sexual violence committed in the context of the armed conflict, which is considered to be a crime against humanity. Sexual violence has been used by armed actors and the security forces as a war strategy and as a mechanism to prevent women’s political and public leadership[1].

As you know, the European Parliament is committed to the implementation of the Final Agreement for the Termination of the Conflict and the Construction of a Stable and Lasting Peace. In particular, in its Resolution of 29 April 2021[2], the European Parliament reaffirmed the importance of the Agreement’s gender-specific approach, calling for the active integration of this approach in all areas.

However, according to the GPAZ group, only 20% of the 122 gender measures established in the Peace Agreement have been adequately implemented[3]. Moreover, Colombia does not have a National Action Plan that enables the adequate and effective implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 of 2000.

Likewise, the systematic violence against women human rights defenders continues to be extremely serious, as well as the insufficient investigation into this gender-based violence and the identification and punishment of the perpetrators. In the aforementioned resolution, the European Parliament called for progress to be made in the Comprehensive Program of Guarantees for Women Leaders and Women Human Rights Defenders and this has not occurred. Decisive action must be taken to protect those who work for peace throughout the national territory, and to strengthen their organizations; however, current protection proposals use a military approach that fails to include important aspects of human security.

We would also like to stress the importance of women’s full political participation in peacekeeping and peacebuilding[4]. It is essential to implement specific strategies and actions to guarantee women’s participation in the elections for the Special Transitional Peace Constituencies.

The undersigned insist on the importance of activating a follow-up mechanism to the recommendations of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), made after their visit to Colombia in July 2021 to investigate the human rights violations that occurred during the National Strike. This mechanism would be particularly important for the investigation of crimes of sexual violence committed by State agents during these mobilizations.

In light of the above, we consider it of the utmost importance that you commit to:

  • adequately implementing comprehensive prevention and protection measures, individually and collectively, for women and organizations working against all forms of violence and discrimination. In particular, fully implementing the Comprehensive Program of Guarantees for Women Leaders and Women Human Rights Defenders;  
  • drafting and applying a National Action Plan relating to United Nations Resolution 1325.
  • ensuring the comprehensive implementation of the Peace Agreement, specifically gender measures.

We thank you in advance for your attention and wish your government every success in meeting national and international expectations for true, lasting and sustainable peacebuilding. We send you our kind regards.

Konstantinos ARVANITIS, The Left, Greece

Manon AUBRY, The Left, France

Malin BJÖRK, The Left, Sweden

Manuel BOMPARD, The Left, France

Marc Johan BOTENGA, The Left, Belgium

Leila CHAIBI, The Left, France

Clare DALY, The Left, Ireland

Oezlem DEMIREL, The Left, Germany

Jose GUSMÃO, The Left, Portugal

Anja HAZEKAMP, The Left, The Netherlands

Stelios KOULOGLOU, The Left, Greece

Chris MACMANUS, The Left, Ireland

Marisa MATIAS, The Left, Portugal

Sandra PEREIRA, The Left, Portugal

Manu PINEDA, The Left, Spain

Sira REGO, The Left, Spain

María Eugenia RODRÍGUEZ PALOP, The Left, Spain

Miguel URBAN CRESPO, The Left, Spain

Idoia VILLANUEVA RUIZ, The Left, Spain

Nikolaj VILLUMSEN, The Left, Denmark

Rasmus ANDRESEN, Greens/EFA

Benoit BITEAU, Greens/EFA, France

Damien CARÊME, Greens/EFA, France

Anna CAVAZZINI, Greens/EFA

Ignazio CORRAO, Greens/EFA, Italy

Ciarán CUFFE, Greens/EFA, Ireland

Rosa D´AMATO, Greens/EFA, Italy

Eleonora EVI, Greens/EFA, Italy

Claude GRUFFAT, Greens/EFA

Martin HÄUSLING, Greens/EFA, Germany

Tilly METZ, Greens/EFA, Luxemburg

Hannah NEUMANN, Greens/EFA, Germany

Niklas NIENAß, Greens/EFA, Germany

Ville NIISNISTÖ, Greens/EFA, Finland

Grace O’SULLIVAN, Greens/EFA

Piernicola PEDICINI, Greens/EFA, Italy

Terry REINTKE, Greens/EFA, Germany

Diana RIBA I GINER, Greens/EFA, Spain

Jordi SOLÉ, Greens/EFA, Spain

Marie TOUSSAINT, Greens/EFA, France

Ernest URTASUN, Greens/EFA, Spain

Dietmar KOESTER, S&D, Germany

Maria Manuel LEITÃO-MARQUES, Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament (S&D), Portugal

Maria NOICHL, S&D, Germany

Evelyn REGNER, S&D, Austria


[1] Sisma Mujer, B O L E T Í N No. 26. May 25, 2021. National Day for the Dignity of Victims of Sexual Violence. P.14. Available in Spanish at: https://www.sismamujer.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Boletin-25M-2021.pdf

[2] See https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-9-2021-0160_EN.html

[3]   The third monitoring report on the implementation of gender measures is available in Spanish at: https://generoypaz.co/informes/gpaz_informe_2021.pdf

[4] Item 2 of the Peace Agreement/Participation in Politics: Democratic openness to build peace. Available: https://www.jep.gov.co/Marco%20Normativo/Normativa_v2/01%20ACUERDOS/Texto-Nuevo-Acuerdo-Final.pdf?csf=1&e=0fpYA0

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