Women, Peace & Security

Report: “A Violence Without Name: Reproductive Violence in the Colombian Armed Conflict”

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Women’s Link Worldwide, an international non-profit organization, recently submitted a report to the Colombian Truth Commission regarding the reproductive rights violations that occurred in the context of the armed conflict in Colombia.

The report provides information and analysis for the Commission to clarify the practices of reproductive violence carried out by all armed actors, as well as the State’s responsibility for failing to ensure the realisation of reproductive rights of women and girls. The report was written in Spanish, however, there is an English Executive summary available.

Key points in the summary include:

  • In different transitional efforts around the world, no truth commission has ever investigated these practices in depth before.
  • In Colombia there are only four convictions for crimes that violate reproductive autonomy of women and girls in the context of the armed conflict, and only one recognizes the practice of reproductive violence within an armed group.
  • In this report we argue for an understanding of reproductive violence as a form of gender-based violence and as an independent and autonomous category of analysis of sexual violence, which includes all violent behaviors that, in the context of the armed conflict, violated the reproductive rights of women and girls, such as the right to enjoy the highest possible standard of health, including sexual and reproductive health services, the right to decide freely and autonomously the number and spacing of children, and the right to access information and means to make decisions regarding reproductive autonomy, amongst others. Forced pregnancy, abortion, sterilization and contraception in the context of the armed conflict all constitute reproductive violence.
  • This report exposes and analyzes facts related to practices of reproductive violence of the the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (hereinafter “FARCEP”), an extinct guerrilla, and the Guevarist Revolutionary Army on women combatants and illegally recruited girls, consisting of the mandatory use of contraceptives and forced abortions.
  • It also exposes the practices of sexual violence by the Calima Block of the United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia against civilian women, leading to pregnancies and unplanned maternities, in a context of mass occupation in which violence and discrimination against women and girls was widespread

Find the full executive summary of the report here.