Colombian women have faced internal displacement, militarization, sexual violence, and the forced recruitment of their children into the conflict. Their input is vital at the negotiating table, says a WOLA blogger.
• Gimena Sánchez-Garzoli is a contributor to WOLA’s blog. The views expressed are the author's own.
As the Colombian Government prepares to meet with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in Havana, Cuba, later this month for the second phase of the peace talks, the role of women – and in particular Afrodescendant women – in guaranteeing a successful peace effort requires support from the international community.
Olga Amparo of Colombianos y Colombianas por la Paz noted that while it is unsurprising that [Colombian] women are not on the negotiating teams—women are neither part of the FARC nor in the armed forces’ top command structures – “it does expose Colombia’s democratic deficit” of female political participation. Though Colombia has adopted norms favoring women’s rights, in practice, the political voice of Colombian women has remained muffled, and exclusion of Afro-Colombian women is particularly problematic. Incorporating the perspective of Afro-Colombian women into the issues debated at the peace talks will do more than just dramatically increase the odds that the process will succeed. It will strengthen Colombia’s democracy by bridging the political gap that exists for Colombian women and ethnic minorities and stabilize this post-conflict country.
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