If you have been following us these past few weeks, you may know that we participated in a pre-session to suggest recommendations for States to endorse and share them at the Human Rights Council during the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Colombia.
Indeed, during the UPR, only States can make official recommendations, but NGOs play an essential, though informal role, providing them with ideas of possible recommendations and pushing them to make the right ones.
We highlighted vital issues such as:
- the absence of a National Action Plan (NAP) for the implementation of the United Nations Security Council resolution (UNSCR) 1325 on Women, Peace and Security
- the absence of women and gender experts in the main team of negotiators for the peace talks in Colombia
- the lack of implementation of the Colombian Constitutional Court order 092 to end impunity for crimes of sexual violence against women
- the worrying extension of the military criminal jurisdiction for crimes committed by public forces in Colombia
A success for WILPF
We are very glad to announce that both Ireland and Portugal endorsed WILPF’s recommendations for the review of Colombia.
Portugal reaffirmed the crucial importance of women’s participation in the current peace process, and expressly recommended that Colombia include women and gender advisors as part of the team of main negotiators, and develop a NAP for the implementation of the UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.
Ireland called upon the Colombian government to ensure adequate space for civil society in the peace process, paying special attention to the participation of women and indigenous communities. He also stressed the need to create an inter-institutional system for monitoring the implementation of the UNSCR 1325.
The implementation of this resolution and the participation of women in conflict resolution and prevention and in disarmament is one of the main objectives of WILPF as a means of reaching long-lasting peace.
Furthermore, Ireland expressed concern about the high level of impunity and lack of access to justice for victims of gender-based violence, in particular sexual violence. Hence, they recommended that the Colombian government ensure the effective implementation of the Constitutional court order 092 dealing with the protection of women and their rights in the context of the conflict. To learn more, have a look at our recommendations.
What to do now?
The recommendations are now part of the UPR report (paras 117.2 and 117.6) and have been noted by the Government of Colombia. We regret that Colombia has only accepted 6 of 160 recommendations: they considered that the rest of them are already implemented or in implementation, they also rejected 26 recommendations and took note of 6.
Since Colombia only took note of our recommendations taken up by Ireland and Portugal, it’s a bit of a disappointment for us; however, we should clarify that all recommendations enjoy the support of the Human Rights Council and sometimes, thanks to public advocacy and pressure, States implement recommendations that they have not accepted. For this reason, one must not despair and keep advocating for all recommendations.
Amongst the few recommendations accepted, Colombia has accepted to take measures to ensure that the military criminal jurisdiction does not generate impunity, that military courts have a restrictive and exceptional scope, and that alleged human rights crimes in no case will be addressed by military courts. This was one of the recommendations we endorsed.
WILPF and in particular WILPF Colombia, will keep a very close eye now to monitor the implementation of these and other UPR recommendations. The UPR report will be an important advocacy tool to defend and protect human rights in Colombia.
We will keep you updated on further outcomes of the UPR report on Colombia; so stay in touch and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and to subscribe to our newsletter, so that you get the latest news.