Joint Statement by Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and Zainab Hawa Bangura on the signing on 15 December 2015 of the agreement on conflict victims between the Government of Colombia and FARC-EP

This statement is attributable to Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, and Zainab Hawa Bangura, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict.

Date: Thursday, December 17, 2015

We celebrate the agreement on 15 December 2015 between the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP) on truth, justice, reparations and non-repetition for the victims of the conflict. We congratulate the many actors, that have made this breakthrough possible.

This development marks a milestone on the path to ending five decades of conflict, and puts the rights of the victims at the heart of the peace and transitional justice process. The agreement acknowledges the different forms of violence that women have suffered, including conflict-related sexual violence, and integrates gender equality comprehensively. It emphasizes the specific impact that the conflict has had on women and girls, and acknowledges the transformative potential of gender equality and the protection of women’s rights.

We welcome the finalized agreement on transitional justice, partially announced in September, which will establish a Special Jurisdiction for Peace, a Truth Commission, and a Unit for the Search for the Disappeared, and will put in place measures for comprehensive reparations for peacebuilding, and guarantees of non-repetition. These measures represent crucial steps in obtaining justice for victims, and in recognizing their central role in building a sustainable peace.

We reiterate our support for the decision to remove amnesties for the most serious crimes, including conflict-related sexual violence. This constitutes a crucial step forward in the fight against impunity.

Colombian women have worked tirelessly to play a significant role in this process, and their efforts are bearing fruit. Acknowledging the unprecedented participation of sexual violence survivors and leaders of women’s rights organizations in the peace process, and their compelling presentation of experiences and proposals to the parties at the table, and the work of the gender sub-commission, we urge that women continue to have a key role in the implementation of this agreement, including with regard to the design of reparation programmes. We also call on all parties to deliver on their commitments to continue to support women’s participation and equitable representation in the implementation of all accords.

One of the key goals of this agreement relates to guarantees of non-repetition so that the crimes of the conflict never occur again. It is therefore crucial that in every aspect of the implementation of this and previous agreements, Colombia also addresses the structural inequalities and discrimination that lie at the root of conflict-related sexual violence and gender-based violence more generally. 

We call on the international community to continue to support Colombia, as it seizes this historic opportunity to bring peace and justice to its people in a process that will serve as a source of inspiration for the region and for the world.

Our offices remain committed to continuing our engagement with the parties as they advance towards a peace agreement, including, in support of the ultimate objective of advancing peace, human rights, development and dignity for all Colombians.

For more information, please contact:

Paulina Kubiak, Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Ph: +1 917 367-3819; Email: kubiakp[@]un.org

Oisika Chakrabarti, UN Women, Ph: +1 646 781-4522; Email: oisika.chakrabarti[@]unwomen.org

Sharon Grobeisen, UN Women, Ph: +1 646 781-4753; Email: sharon.grobeisen[@]unwomen.org