On October 20, 2021, MADRE co-hosted a panel event on justice for gender and race persecution in Colombia, focusing on developments in transitional justice in Colombia, particularly in relation to Afro-descendant communities, which experienced extreme atrocities and disproportionate violence. Panelists from Proceso de Comunidades Negras (PCN - Black Communities' Process), Women’s Link Worldwide, the Human Rights and Gender Justice Clinic of the City University of New York School of Law, and the Center for Socio-Legal Research (CIJUS) at the Universidad de Los Andes School of Law discussed Colombia’s ongoing transitional justice process and next steps for promoting justice.
During Colombia’s conflict, gender-based violence was routinely used as punishment against those who deviated from social norms. Black and Indigenous women and girls were punished with rape, torture and murder by armed actors for their attire and occupations. LGBTIQ, non-binary and gender non-conforming persons were subjected to “corrective rape” and “social cleansing." These crimes are all forms of gender and racial persecution.
While gender persecution is an "old" crime, no tribunal has ever litigated a successful case. The transitional justice system created under Colombia's 2016 Peace Accord presents an important opportunity to ensure accountability for these crimes.