Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Gender Issues: Colombian women and girls are the resilient survivors of ongoing conflict

Refugees International (RI) - Displaced Colombian women and girls are the resilient survivors of the ongoing conflict inside the country. Frustrated by continued neglect from the authorities, displaced women's organizations successfully petitioned the Constitutional Court, which ordered the Colombian government to bring to justice perpetrators of sexual violence and devise programs attending to the protection and socio-economic needs of displaced women.

It is time for the government of Colombia to prioritize the implementation of the court orders. The U.S. government should take the opportunity of its close relationship with its Colombian counterpart to strongly encourage full compliance and provide help and resources to facilitate that task.

Policy Recommendations

- The Colombian government should fully comply with the Colombian Constitutional Court order on displaced women.

- The U.S. government should encourage its Colombian counterpart to prioritize implementation of the Constitutional Court rulings on displaced women.

- The U.S. government, together with other donors, should build the capacity of Colombia's Ombudsman Office section on women and children and strengthen the investigative capacity of the Prosecutor's Office for cases of sexual violence.

- The U.S. government, together with other donors, should support gender based violence programs that are integrated with income generation activities and sustained professional psychological support.

- USAID should develop a gender policy and require that its contractors comply with its terms. It also should support the expansion of the Casas de Justicia programs whilst improving their existing staff capacity and professionalism.

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