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The ABColombia Series (5): Women and reincorporation

The implementation of the political aspect of reincorporation for the FARC has had some tangible results with the creation of a political party – Common Alternative Revolutionary Force (Fuerza Alternativa Revolucionaria del Común – FARC), which participated in the 2018 congressional elections.


*ABColombia & contributors of Towards Transformative Change


As a political party, the FARC declared itself to be inherently feminist, and in a positive move, 39% of their candidates for the 2018 congressional elections were women.

However, out of the 10 Congress seats awarded to them in the FPA only two seats are filled with women.

Whilst the FARC complied with the FPA moving to the Transitional and Normalisation Zones (TNZs) and laying down of arms, the government has failed at all stages of the process, so far, to make adequate provision for the ex-combatants in line with the agreements in the FPA.

The FARC’s reintegration strategy specifically aims at encouraging the active participation of women in collective production projects with the objective of guaranteeing economic autonomy for women.

The State has been exceptionally slow in providing these. As a result of the delays, female ex-combatants in many regions started establishing joint productive initiatives for women with the support of the UN, who created a high-level forum to facilitate international funding in support of female ex- combatants’ economic projects.

It was not until June 2018, that a reintegration policy with gender-specific actions was adopted by the government.

Progress is now being made in determining and prioritising productive projects led by female ex-combatants.

In September 2018, for the first time, the UN Verification Mission noted significant progress in relation to the economic integration of female ex-combatants.

However, significant and swift measures are needed to ensure the implementation of the National Policy for Reintegration and to provide viable and sustainable economic opportunities for ex- combatants. Inclusive economic projects are not only essential for development and reintegration, but also for the sustainability of peace.

This is particularly important in light of the existing incentives for both men and women to leave the peace process and join other illegal armed groups.

Women and implementation

Globally, there are plenty of examples of where women engaged in peace talks, only to be pushed to the periphery once a peace accord was signed. Colombia has the opportunity to once again lead the world, by taking a gender-based approach to policy- making and guaranteeing the full participation of women’s CSOs in the implementation of the FPA, at every level of decision- making.

The High-level Security Commission is one of their first challenges. If Colombia addresses this challenge, it will bring about a transformative change for Colombian city, rural, peasant farmer, Indigenous and Afro-Colombian women.

Many of the agreements are supported by laws that Colombia has already passed, such as Law 1257, and international commitments made by Colombia since 1982, e.g. when it ratified the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), endorsed Resolution 1325 (2000) and subsequent Security Council Resolutions, and in 2014, when it signed the UK- led Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict.

This government has made a good start with the election of Marta Lucia Ramirez as the first women Vice-President and in appointing 50% of cabinet places to women in August 2018.

What the Government now needs is to set a gender-specific budget to ensure that the gendered priorities of peacebuilding have the resources needed for delivery.

Gender-specific budgeting is a way of guaranteeing that national and local authorities take a gendered approach to development and in all institutional policies.

If this does not happen it  will  impact  negatively on transformative justice and in turn, Colombia will miss the opportunity for ensuring sustainable peace for women and men. (Photos: Pixabay)

*ABColombia /Report: Towards Transformative Change: Women and the Implementation of the Colombian Peace Accord

(Next edition: The Gender Sub-Commission)

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