Stories

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Celia Umenza Velasco is a leader of the largest Indigenous group in Colombia, the Nasa People, from the northern Cauca region of Colombia, one of the zones most affected by the armed conflict. Umenza Velasco briefed the United Nations Security Council at the recent Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security.
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To raise awareness of the need to increase women’s participation as candidates in the upcoming presidential elections and reject the various forms of violence they face, UN Women, along with the Colombian Government, international partners, media and civil society, are promoting the campaign, “More women, more democracy: towards parity”.
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This statement was made by Celia Umenza Velasco, Indigenous leader, Legal Coordinator for the Indigenous Reservation of Tacueyó and member of ACIN (Association of Indigenous Councils of the North of Cauca), and on behalf of the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security at the United Nations Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security.
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William Fernando Rosero, 28, works to educate other young men about the importance of gender equality, especially at home and within families.
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Marina Moscoso T Mendonça is an Urban Management Specialist and Technical Director of Despacio in Colombia, where she supervises projects promoting urban development and sustainable transport in Latin America. Marina is also the Operations Director for Women in Motion, an initiative focused on strengthening female leadership in the transport sector. During COVID-19, social distancing and lockdown measures are affecting the mobility choices of women in Bogota and reinforcing patterns of gender inequality on, and around, public transport.
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María Adelaida Suárez, a psychologist by profession, is part of the “gender pairs” initiative, which has since 2016 paired survivors of violence in communities with psychologists and legal experts.. The initiative was developed by UN Women Colombia and the Ombudsman's Office of Colombia and is funded by the United Kingdom.
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As COVID-19 confinement measures started in Colombia, the country saw a rise in cases of violence against women, including those reported through hotline numbers. There was a 107 per cent increase in calls for help this year, between 25 March and 30 July, in comparison to the same period in 2019. Eighty-nine per cent of those calls were rerouted to hotlines dedicated to serve victims and survivors of violence against women.
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Johana, a trans woman, is the founder of the Johana Maturana Foundation, an organization that promotes LGBTI people’s rights in the Chocó Department of Colombia. She stresses the need for financial resources to reach local communities and that communities must shape humanitarian action.
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Francy L. Jaramillo Piedrahita is a human rights defender with over a decade of experience working on women’s rights, LGBTQ issues and peacebuilding in Colombia. She has been leading the localization of the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1325 and the peace agreement between the Government and the FARC in Cauca, Colombia.
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The conflict in Colombia has left deep scars, and lasting peace is more of a journey than a destination. The one thing that remains constant in this journey is the power and perseverance of women forging peace against all odds, defending human rights every day. Through projects funded by the Government of Sweden and Norway, UN Women has accompanied Colombian women in this journey.
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In Colombian cities straddling the Venezuelan border, women hawking coffee or sweets at traffic lights while their children line the sidewalks are a common sight. Many of them have migrated from Venezuela, the scene of the largest exodus in Latin America’s recent history. More than 4 million Venezuelans[ 1 ] have fled the country’s dire economic conditions, insecurity, lack of food, medicine and essential services.[ 2 ] “When I work, there are people who are [aggressive]...
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Rosarged López González, 31, was a natural sciences teacher in her homeland, Venezuela. With her husband and 8-year-old daughter, she decided to leave the country due to the social and economic situation, migrating to the city of Cartagena, Colombia, in March of 2018.
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Zuneyka Dhisnays Gonzalez is a 26-year-old mother and Venezuelan migrant to Barranquilla, Colombia. It’s one of the border cities where UN Women is implementing a project funded by USAID, to improve information services for migrants and to mitigate the risks of gender-based violence and sexual exploitation of migrant women. Dhisnays Gonzalez created a social network-based community dubbed “Venezolanos Unidos en Quilla” (Venezuelans united in Barranquilla), to support and guide fellow migrants. She disseminates relevant information and content via social networks, and by talking to other migrants.
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From 11-18 May, members of the Executive Board of UN Women visited Colombia for the first time to observe UN Women’s programmes and policy work in the country and assess how they contribute toward the implementation of national development priorities.
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At 16, Jakomba Jabbie is one of the most vocal advocates for the education of all girls in the Gambia, especially when it comes to science and technology skills.
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UN Women spoke with Jean Arnault, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia, about gender parity within the Mission and its priorities over the next year. The Verification Mission in Colombia has made impressive strides towards gender parity; 58 per cent of its professional level field staff are women and 65 per cent of field office teams are led by women. The Final Peace Agreement between the Colombian Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP) was signed in 2016, ending more than 50 years of conflict. Contrary to most peace negotiations in history, women had a significant influence in the peace process in Colombia. The resulting peace agreement addresses core issues that impact women, such as women’s representation in decision-making bodies, access to land restitution or justice and reparations for survivors of conflict-related sexual violence.
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Mila Rodriguez is one of the young members of Colombia’s Cantadora Network, a network of singers using traditional Afro-Colombian music to preserve their culture and promote peace. Supported by a UN Women programme, the Cantadoras have engaged young people in the port city of Tumaco, where decades of armed conflict have torn apart communities, and peace is still a long journey.
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Deyanira Cordoba belongs to a family of coffee growers of Tablon de Gomez, in the of Nariño region of Colombia. As part of a UN Women project, she has learned about her economic rights, bodily autonomy and more. The future holds many possibilities for this talented artist and coffee grower, but whichever path she chooses, she feels she belongs with her community, in the mountains of Colombia, watching the coffee grow.
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Charo Mina-Rojas has worked for many years to educate grassroots Afro-descendant communities of Colombia on Law 70 of 1993, which recognizes their cultural, territorial and political rights. Following the historic peace agreement which ended the more than 50-year conflict between the Government of Colombia and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Mina-Rojas advocates for justice and equality for Colombia’s afro-descendent women.
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Colombia’s half-a-century-long armed conflict has deeply wounded the country’s rural areas. Today, rural and indigenous women suffer the highest levels of poverty, social exclusion and discrimination. According to national statistics, 41.9 per cent of rural women-led households live in poverty and 9.6 per cent in extreme poverty. An initiative by UN Women has supported rural and indigenous women to develop leadership and business skills to boost their economic and political empowerment as the country strives for peace.