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Colombia

Conflict-related sexual violence has devastated so many lives in Colombia. Women, men, children, and members of the LGBTQI+ community have been subjected to it, and Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities have been specifically targeted. Perpetrated by all actors, including the State and non-state armed groups, there are upwards of 37,000 victims of conflict-related sexual and reproductive violence registered with the Registro Único de Víctimas in Colombia.[1] 

In 2016, the Colombian government and the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC), which is the country’s largest guerrilla group, signed a peace agreement. Colombia’s peace agreement is considered a milestone worldwide, but it does not mean violence has ceased in the country. 

With nine million victims of serious human rights or international humanitarian law violations registered, the pressure is on to deliver reparations

Project partners

Jurisdicción Especial para la Paz (JEP

DeJustica 

Caribe Afirmativo 

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Using the Global Reparations Study 

In 2022, after two years of diligent research, the Global Survivors Fund (GSF) published its Global Reparations Study on Colombia. Presented during a launch in Bogota, the recommendations found in the Study now guide the work of our team. One of the findings of the study is that even if there are multiple mechanisms for reparation for victims of the conflict and of survivors, they have resulted in a complex patchwork of competing mechanisms, with all of them relying on limited funding. This helps explain the significant implementation gap, considering the large number of victims.

We are working to ensure that survivors are involved in decisions so that their priorities and demands are considered. Survivors' involvement in decisions could also assist in the effective delivery of reparations.

Improving administrative reparations 

We are supporting for the effective implementation of the administrative reparations programme established by Law 1448 on Victims and Land Restitution. Jointly with DeJusticia, a leading human rights and policy think tank, we did a study on budgeting and resource allocation on the implementation of Law 1448, which resulted on a set of informed proposals for better use of resources.  

More specifically, we are discussing with government, civil society stakeholders, and survivors, how to improve the implementation of a protocol for the provision of comprehensive reparations for survivors of conflict-related sexual violence, defined by Law 1719 of 2014, but only partially followed. We are aiming at having those advanced pieces of legislation effectively implemented, as they can be the best way to reach a large number of survivors with comprehensive reparations.

Supporting effective participation of survivors in defining reparative measures  

In its work to uncover crimes and provide timely justice to victims, the JEP has opened macro cases that group together specific crimes and/or localities of violations. Since 2017, it has opened 11 macro cases for trial. A key feature of JEP is to develop a system where those responsible of serious violations who provide information about the violations committed, acknowledge the truth of what happened, and collaborate on the process receive alternative sanctions to prison sentences, which should contain a contribution to reparation to victims.

GSF is supporting survivors of conflict-related sexual violence in macro case 05, on the Territorial Situation of the Northern Cauca and Southern Cauca Valley Regions. This case represents over 120,000 victims of different atrocities committed across 17 municipalities in Northern Cauca and Southern Cauca Valley between January 1993 and December 2016. 80 survivors of conflict-related sexual violence are registered in this case, including members of Afro, indigenous, and campesino communities, as well as survivors from the LGTBQI+ community.  

In our capacity as technical advisors, we are hosting events with survivors to assist JEP in documenting the individual and collective harms of conflict-related sexual violence in this case. To this end, we have designed and are implementing a specific methodology and agenda for how JEP should meet with survivors, so they participate in the definition of their reparative measures. This has involved a series of meetings with survivors that are part of the case, as well as the involvement of the court that formalises decisions. Also involved in the process is the Presidency of JEP, so that the methodology can be applied to other macro cases that involve conflict-related sexual violence. 

Notes

  1. Number as of December 2023.
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